Barney and the Runaway, by Max Elliot Anderson
Published by Comfort Publishing, LLC, Copyright 2011
Paperback, 130 pages
Max Elliot Anderson’s book, Barney and the Runaway, tells of the adventure of a boy and his dog. A work of fiction put in a modern day setting; it is masterfully crafted to capture the imaginations of boys between the ages of about 8 to 12 years old.
The hero, Michael Ellis, feels unappreciated by his parents because they, wisely and lovingly, discipline him. Along with his loyal and very clever dog, Barney, he runs away and unintentionally ends up very far away. He winds up in a circus where a wise and kind clown takes him under his wing. Aside from getting to experience the exciting life of a circus performer, Michael also learns the wisdom that is behind his parents’ actions. He comes into contact with greedy men and learns that his thoughtless decision to run away could have some devastating consequences.
Mr. Anderson absorbs his reader in the delicious prospect of living the life of a circus performer while also allowing him to learn the importance of making wise, unselfish decisions. Many girls will enjoy the plot, too, however it particularly appeals to boys who have a hunger to go on adventures and to put their bravery to the test. The plot moves along quickly enough to hold the attention of a reluctant reader yet long enough to give the child a sense of accomplishment at having read a “real” book.
I highly recommend this book for boys. Not only is the story an entirely new adventure, but it also reinforces several life lessons that parents strive to teach, such as respect for authority, facing the consequences of one’s actions, and honesty. Barney and the Runaway is truly a gift both for young boys and for their parents!
Copyright 2011 Elyse Wilson