Published by: David Fickling Books.
Released: 30th September 2010.
Official synopsis: "In "Noah Barleywater Runs Away", bestselling author John Boyne explores the world of childhood and the adventures that we can all have there. Noah is running away from his problems, or at least that's what he thinks, the day he takes the untrodden path through the forest. When he comes across a very unusual toyshop and meets the even more unusual toymaker he's not sure what to expect. But the toymaker has a story to tell, a story full of adventure, and wonder and broken promises. And Noah travels with him on a journey that will change his life for ever. This is a thought-provoking fable for our modern world from the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed "Boy in the Striped Pyjamas".
When I heard about this I thought that it sounded brilliant - I was right!
Noah Barleywater Runs Away is simply fantastic. It's thought provoking, funny, sad, happy, but most of all entertaining. I really struggled to put this book down. The imagination Boyne has used when creating this is fantastic. There are some things that you think would be explained (for one that there's a talking dachshund and donkey...) but never are but this only makes the tale even more appealing. The mystery as to why certain things happen is intriguing and niggling but at the same time humorous.
I love the toyshop that Noah visits, and the toymaker. The characters are brilliant, the toyshop included. I don't really see the toyshop as a setting, it's more of a character in it's own right, as you will see if you read it.
Sadly my copy (proof copy) isn't illustrated like the final copy but I'm sure that will only add to this brilliant reading experience - perhaps the best I've had for a while. This book really made me reminisce on being a child, childhood innocence, and stories I was told as a child. It really has an air of innocence and feels like a story you're told as a child. It sure does evoke some massive feelings!
But as much as it has this air, it isn't just for children. I think that all ages will love this book. It touches on issues such as death, but yet it's still subtle enough that younger children won't be upset, but enough that older readers will understand.
I think I must be the only person in the country who hasn't read The Boy In The Stripped Pyjamas (I have no idea why!) so this being my first ever John Boyne book will be special for me for a long time to come. It raises questions that every child has at times and tells a beautiful story. The ending, I thought was brilliant.
One critisism. It's too short! As I was reading it I only wanted more and more and more. Fantastic little book that will have you hooked, and rather importantly caring until the very end. Woven with consummate skill and leaving you feeling warm and fuzzy, this makes for a perfect read.
My thanks to Waterstones Twitter for my copy!