The Barnabus Project
The Barnabus Project

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Annotation: Publisher Annotation: In a world built for Perfect Pets, Barnabus is a Failed Project, half mouse, half elephant, kept out of sight until his dreams of freedom lead him and his misfit friends on a perilous adventure.
Catalog Number: #254002
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Tundra Books
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 72
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 0-7352-6326-4 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8801-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-7352-6326-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8801-4
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2019952071
Dimensions: 27 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
This epic tale of escape and liberation, set in a clandestine underground lab producing genetically engineered Perfect Pets, stars courageous Barnabus, half mouse, half elephant.Along with a collection of creatures, Barnabus is a Failed Project, dubiously destined, according to cockroach pal Pip, to be “recycled.” Barnabus and his roommates—Light-Up Lois, Mushroom Sloth, and others—spend banal days imprisoned in bell jars, fed, poked and prodded by the Green Rubber Suits. With their fates sealed, Barnabus avows, “We need to escape!” Discovering that his elephantine trumpeting can break glass, Barnabus frees the others. The brave misfits, pursued by their creators and captors, escape through venting, emerging into another lab. The band works together to free a fellow captive, an enormous, cyclopian marine creature, releasing a flood of tank water that sweeps them out of the building’s depths and into the pet shop above the lab. The escaped company, discovering the wide world foretold by Pip, finds a lake, sunshine, grass, and trees: “a place that might be home.” The Fan brothers (Eric and Terry, joined for this project by Devin) generate copious precisely rendered, action-packed illustrations that capture the lab’s sinister labyrinth, the poignant features of the “failed” creatures, and moonlit cityscapes whose skyscraper “mountains” reach “all the way to the sky, lit with their own stars.”A heartfelt, timely allegory celebrating diversity, bravery, and solidarity. (Picture book. 4-9)
Publishers Weekly
The Perfect Pet store-s friendly window display offers adorable fuzzy animals, -Genetically Engineered!- But in a laboratory deep underneath it, the Failed Projects are imprisoned: small, fuzzy cast-offs with names like Quirt and Moshi. Diminutive Barnabus-half mouse, half elephant-is inspired by Pip the cockroach-s descriptions of the world outside: -mountains that reached all the way to the sky, lit with their own stars.- After the group is slated for recycling, Barnabus leads his fellow Failed Projects out through the ventilation system (the subterranean depths are revealed in all their steampunk glory), pausing to liberate one last being before, in a chilling moment, coming face-to-face with the perfected version of himself: -It was almost like looking in a mirror, except Barnaby-s eyes were bigger, and his fur was like cotton candy.- The idealized Barnaby may be perfect, Barnabus realizes (-Fully trained!- declares the box)-but he is not free. A cinematic climax caps this romp as Terry and Eric Fan (Ocean Meets Sky), collaborating with their brother Devin, step out from earlier, atmospheric works to produce an ambitious drama of rebellion, escape, and inclusivity rewarded. Barnabus and his comrades win readers over, and the plot provides thumping moments of danger before delivering its allies to a collaborative future. Ages 5-9. Agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3 This quirky epic only lacks Spielberg directing to fulfill its cinematic wingspanand perhaps it will get it. In ingeniously imaginative illustrations, the story unfolds: Barnabus has been labeled a failed project because he is half-mouse, half-elephant with beady eyes and a non-fluffy body. The green rubber suits want him to live his whole life under a small glass dome in a secret basement lab with the other less-than-perfect pets. But when Barnabus learns he could lose his friends, his dreams, and his taste for his favorite foods (cheese and peanuts) because he's about to be "recycled," he decides to escape. This endearing picture book, with graphite and digital illustrations, will rouse justice-minded children to action with its reminders of the important things in life. The three Fan brothers have created new characters who overcome seemingly impossible odds by being resilient, using teamwork, and not leaving anyone behind. VERDICT A fun tale with a big heart, for all ages and all collections.Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake P.L., Alta.
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
This epic tale of escape and liberation, set in a clandestine underground lab producing genetically engineered Perfect Pets, stars courageous Barnabus, half mouse, half elephant.Along with a collection of creatures, Barnabus is a Failed Project, dubiously destined, according to cockroach pal Pip, to be “recycled.” Barnabus and his roommates—Light-Up Lois, Mushroom Sloth, and others—spend banal days imprisoned in bell jars, fed, poked and prodded by the Green Rubber Suits. With their fates sealed, Barnabus avows, “We need to escape!” Discovering that his elephantine trumpeting can break glass, Barnabus frees the others. The brave misfits, pursued by their creators and captors, escape through venting, emerging into another lab. The band works together to free a fellow captive, an enormous, cyclopian marine creature, releasing a flood of tank water that sweeps them out of the building’s depths and into the pet shop above the lab. The escaped company, discovering the wide world foretold by Pip, finds a lake, sunshine, grass, and trees: “a place that might be home.” The Fan brothers (Eric and Terry, joined for this project by Devin) generate copious precisely rendered, action-packed illustrations that capture the lab’s sinister labyrinth, the poignant features of the “failed” creatures, and moonlit cityscapes whose skyscraper “mountains” reach “all the way to the sky, lit with their own stars.”A heartfelt, timely allegory celebrating diversity, bravery, and solidarity. (Picture book. 4-9)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Beneath a glass dome set upon a shelf lives a curious gray creature rt mouse, part elephant at goes by the name Barnabus. His bell jar is one of many, each inhabited by a unique animal, each deemed a failed project by the lab workers, aka the Green Rubber Suits, tasked with creating adorable new pets for the Perfect Pets store. Be prepared to linger over the two-page spread revealing the lab's underground location via a detailed cutaway of its subterranean chambers sprawling mazelike beneath an otherwise normal street. One day, the Green Rubber Suits mark Barnabus' and his shelfmates' jars for recycling, and the little elephant-mouse knows they must escape. With a glass-shattering honk of his trunk, Barnabus frees himself and the other Failed Projects shroom Sloth, Bumble Bear, Lite-Up Lois, Dust Bunnies, and all d they begin their climb through the air vent to the great outdoors. The Fan Brothers' delectable graphite artwork is colored digitally in soft candy hues for the imperfect pets, and in darker, more ominous shades for their underground decampment. The text and illustrations mesh wonderfully to convey the drama of the escape and the critical roles teamwork and friendship play in the animals' success. More subtly incorporated is the idea that there's nothing wrong with imperfection, nor does it mitigate one's value or ability to succeed.
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: K-3

In a world built for Perfect Pets, Barnabus is a Failed Project, half mouse, half elephant, kept out of sight until his dreams of freedom lead him and his misfit friends on a perilous adventure. A stunning picture book from international bestsellers The Fan Brothers, joined by their brother Devin Fan.

Deep underground beneath Perfect Pets, where children can buy genetically engineered "perfect" creatures, there is a secret lab. Barnabus and his friends live in this lab, but none of them is perfect. They are all Failed Projects. Barnabus has never been outside his tiny bell jar, yet he dreams of one day seeing the world above ground that his pal Pip the cockroach has told him about: a world with green hills and trees, and buildings that reach all the way to the sky, lit with their own stars. But Barnabus may have to reach the outside world sooner than he thought, because the Green Rubber Suits are about to recycle all Failed Projects . . . and Barnabus doesn't want to be made into a fluffier pet with bigger eyes. He just wants to be himself. So he decides it's time for he and the others to escape. With his little trunk and a lot of cooperation and courage, Barnabus sets out to find freedom -- and a place where he and his friends can finally be accepted for who they are.

This suspenseful, poignant and magical story about following your dreams and finding where you truly belong will draw readers into a surreal, lushly detailed world in which perfection really means being true to yourself and your friends.


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