Summer Book Review

Noah Barleywater Runs Away

By John Boyne

May 01, 2011


Genre: Fantasy

Number of pages: 222

What's the basic story line?

This bittersweet novel starts when 8-year-old Noah Barleywater runs away from home. For complex reasons, he has decided that he is going to explore the world and achieve great things. Along the way, he encounters talking animals and objects. He continues to run until he reaches a strange-looking toy shop with walls at odd angles and windows that jut out where they shouldn't. Noah steps inside the shop and notices it's filled with toys of all sorts, including talking puppets. Soon, the shop owner appears, and tells a grand story of his achievements and the many promises he has broken. Through the old man's tale, Noah begins to realize the value of family, and how you should always be there for those you love, because a person cannot last forever. Can Noah get back to his family in time?

Are the characters believable?

Kid Reporter
Gabriel Roy

For the most part, yes, the characters are believable. Noah is like any other 8-year-old boy. He's adventurous, curious and filled with a belief that he is quite mature and ready to do things on his own. His family is like most other families. However, once Noah runs away, people and animals start to do strange things. Here is where the characters are not believable: The animals talk, and the people behave oddly. The old shopkeeper eats as many as 12 meals a day, and can run hundreds of miles in just minutes.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being best), how would you rate this book?

I rate this book an 8. I enjoyed the detailed descriptions. For example, when Noah steps into the old man's toy shop, author John Boyne describes vividly the thousands of puppets attached to the wall, all made of beautiful wood. Furthermore, the story has odd twists and turns, making the reader want to continue on. Finally, this book has a great lesson to share. It teaches you to keep your promises, and to be there for your family when they need you.


Click here to return to the Summer Book Review Mini-Site.

Current subscribers log in/register for 

Registered Users Log In

Forgot Password?
Register Now for FREE
Subscriber Benefits
Do it now to get all this:
  • Access to Interactive Digital Editions
  • Online Archives of Past Lessons & Teachers' Guides
  • Interactive Teacher Community
Website Login Page