Reviewed by Claudia Robinson

“That will do nicely,” said Noah, who didn’t like to think that the old man imagined his family were bad people and this was why he had left them behind. After all, they weren’t bad people at all. They were very nice people actually.” – Noah

Noah Barleywater is 8-years-old and determined to see the mysteries and explore the adventures that lay beyond the confines of his home. Especially now, that things are ‘different’, meaning, mostly, the odd behavior of his mother. Setting off before the crack of dawn, Noah begins his journey through the various Villages surrounding his home, until hunger and curiosity push him over the crooked threshold of an old man toy maker’s shop and his myriad of living puppets. Together, the oddly paired new friends, share tales of the past, frustrations of the present as well as explore the magical memories the toy maker brings to life through his puppets.

Through talking doors, accommodating staircases, cranky trees, Kings & Queens, animals with voices and time that stands still for no one, unless embarrassed, Noah Barleywater Runs Away offers up a plethora of magic, mystery, human emotion, life and death and the choices we’re required to make in their presence, in a most unique and brilliant tale, sure to delight ALL ages. A fusion of Pinocchio and Leave it to Beaver, Noah Barleywater reads like an ever after story of what happened to the beloved, long nosed, wooden puppet of our youth, once he became a boy, and the legacy and lessons his story offers to a real boy, in dire need of redirection, years later.

Charming, sometimes a little confusing, deliciously odd and quirky, Noah Barleywater will read familiar to older patrons and magic to younger. Fun and inventive, provocative and sweet, Noah Barleywater is a little gem of a book sure to pleasure all that read it. It’s one of those books that can be read time and time and again, each read like another piece of the puzzle, fitting perfectly, until that ‘aha’ moment settles in, and everything that shouldn’t, couldn’t possibly make sense, does.

Rating: 3.5/5

Claudia lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband and two children.

The review copy of this book was provided free of any obligation by David Fickling Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.