The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket, published by Randomhouse Children's Books on 2nd August 2012
Barnaby Brocket is an ordinary 8-year-old boy in most ways, but he was born different in one important way: he floats. Unlike everyone else, Barnaby does not obey the law of gravity. His parents, who have a horror of being noticed, want desperately for Barnaby to be normal, but he can't help who he is. And when the unthinkable happens, Barnaby finds himself on a journey that takes him all over the world. From Brazil to New York, Canada to Ireland, and even to space, the floating boy meets all sorts of different people--and discovers who he really is along the way.
This is a charming and heartwarming story about a young boy who dares to be different. I wouldn't normally have picked this one up because it is predominantly aimed at younger readers but I'm so glad that I got the opportunity to read it because it was simply lovely. The perfect book to put a smile on your face at all the exciting and wonderful adventures that our hero Barnaby gets up to along the way.
I should mention that there are also some wonderful illustrations throughout the book by Oliver Jeffers which show Barnaby on his extraordinary journey.
The story is about embracing the things that make you different rather than always trying to change and fit in with everyone else. This is an important message to convey to children reading the book and one which we should all remember.
The book reminded me quite a lot of some of the best Roald Dahl stories where the adults are far from perfect and could actually learn a thing or two from their children. Mr and Mrs Brocket are desperate for their whole family to be seen as normal and one of their mistakes is to value this more highly than the things which make each of them special in their own right and which should be celebrated rather than hidden away.
A pocket sized book with a pocket sized hero, Barnaby Brocket is one of those characters that you'll remember long after reading the final page. He has a whole host of amazing experiences and sees some incredible sights as he travels around the world. He also meets lots of interesting people who teach him some valuable life lessons. He's an inspiring figure who we could all learn a thing or two from.
This is a great book for both children and adults. It is a unique story which is sad in places but ultimately an uplifting tale of daring to dream.