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Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne

Reviewed by Sixmilebridge Book Club

Anyone who has read ‘The Boy with the Striped Pyjamas’ will be intrigued by John Boyne’s latest offering for children ‘Noah Barleywater Runs Away’. Reminiscent of all the best fairytales, it’s full of magic and mystery.

Our hero is eight year old Noah who is on his very first adventure. He has just run away from home. Noah is afraid to think too much about circumstances at home and from the very beginning the reader is aware that home is for Noah a painful and sad place to be.

Noah meets some very strange and eccentric characters as he takes off on his adventure. Talking animals and trees make up just some of the personalities he meets along the way. It is only when he encounters the old toymaker that the story really begins however. The man tells Noah his story and soon we realise he is not just any toymaker.

While the toymaker’s story seems far-fetched and unbelievable, the reader finds themselves engrossed in his adventures and soon appreciates the lessons that young Noah can learn from the toymaker’s experiences.

This story is at times sad and at other times very funny. It’s a tale that can be appreciated at face value but is really enjoyed when the reader delves a little deeper. For that reason it is suitable for all ages, young and old, as the subject matter is truly universal.

The members of Sixmilebridge Book Club were divided on this book. Some of the group weren’t keen on the magical elements in the story while others thought the book was very unusual and perhaps worthy of a second read.

Overall the group deemed ‘Noah Barleywater Runs Away’ to be worthy of a score of 6 out of ten.