I love Oliver Jeffers – he is one of my favorite picture book illustrators and authors and I would gladly read anything that he has produced. Now imagine my surprise when I saw this book sitting on a shelf illustrated by Jeffers that I’d somehow missed! To make it even better John Boyne authored this middle reader novel. Of course I took it home to devour – a day later I emerged from my blanket cocoon, book completed.
I really enjoyed this charming novel. Reminiscent of Ronald Dahl, “The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket” really picks up when floating boy Barnaby is released by his mother into the world and he floats off on an adventure around the world to get back home to Sydney (the best city in the world according to Barnaby). Along the way he meets a whole slew of unique, quirky, and downright odd characters who celebrate what makes them different.
“The Terrible Thing…” is a fun read and I thought Barnaby was a sweet character. I enjoyed seeing the world through his eyes. There were some points, though, where I was a little bit irritated with just how naïve Barnaby was about the world and how willing he was to trust complete strangers. That withheld I cannot tell you how much I liked this book – Oliver Jeffers’ lovely illustrations, the sheer fact that Barnaby floats, John Boyne’s humor, and so many other elements that made me love this book.