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The Barnabus Project by Terry Fan
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The Barnabus Project (original 2020; edition 2020)

by Terry Fan (Author), Eric Fan (Author), Devin Fan (Author)

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675316,542 (4.38)2
Member:KSchellVT
Title:The Barnabus Project
Authors:Terry Fan (Author)
Other authors:Eric Fan (Author), Devin Fan (Author)
Info:Tundra Books (2020), Edition: Illustrated, 72 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:SFX, Red Clover, Picture book

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The Barnabus Project by Terry Fan (2020)

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Showing 5 of 5
Charming little characters overcome the odds to escape a dystopian laboratory. Cuteness definitely prevails over the creepy factor. Similar hopeful tone to the Fan Brothers' Night Gardener (no, not the scary book, the picture book about topiary...). ( )
  KSchellVT | Sep 14, 2021 |
From cover to endpapers, this is a wonderfully illustrated and detailed picturebook about a failed experiment (an Elephant Mouse), kept in a jar, dreaming of freedom. A cast of wonderfully mutated creatures appear, including a very big one for which the centrefold must be rotated. There are very dark genetic engineering and ethical undertones with shelves of perfectly designed pets for sale in a shop, but overall a fun adventure story. ( )
  Booksplorer | May 30, 2021 |
A tiny mouse/elephant hybrid, Barnabus was one of Perfect Pets' failed projects: just not good enough to sell to consumers, as a genetically engineered "animal" companion. Living in a tiny bell jar in a laboratory far underground, Barnabus dreamed of the wider world, which he knew about thanks to his friend, Pip the cockroach. Deciding to escape, rather than be "recycled," he and his friends made a break for it, finding their way to the surface after many adventures, eventually settling in a park, and always sticking together...

I absolutely adore the work of co-authors, co-illustrators and brothers Terry and Eric Fan, and have read their gorgeous picture-books - The Night Gardener, The Antlered Ship, Ocean Meets Sky, etc. - with great pleasure. Consequently, I was very excited to learn of The Barnabus Project, which brings in a third Fan brother, Devin. I found the story here entertaining and ultimately heartwarming, reminded at least in part of one of my favorite children's novels, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, about a group of rats (and one mouse) who also escape a laboratory. I appreciated the theme here of preferring freedom and authenticity to some kind of artificial perfection, and I loved the friendship and cooperation amongst the failed projects, as they make their escape. The artwork, needless to say, was absolutely beautiful, and I enjoyed perusing these pages, poring over everything from the decorative endpapers to the detailed scenes with all the projects on the shelf, in their bell jars. At seventy-two pages, this is a very long picture-book, but it isn't particularly text-dense, so it doesn't feel that long. Recommended to fellow Fan Brothers fans, and to picture-book readers who enjoy fantastical tales and/or gorgeous illustrations. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Mar 6, 2021 |
I never knew about the fan brothers, until, I found this book the same day I discovered the first book I read that was illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

This is a beautiful tale of those not quite perfect, and thus are hidden away from others who are perfect. The imperfect that live in the basement aren't deemed sellable, are under glass jars.

Those differently one live below ad far away from upstairs in the pretty store with boxed pets that look like stuffed animals, but come alive.

It appears that a non inclusive world sets others aside who are not like them, or therefore, not "perfect." Those who are "defective" or "failed" are hidden.

This book is another example of a strong statement that is made, with both written words and incredible illustrations blending to make an marvelous creation.

Barnabus becomes the ring leader. He developed into a half mouse and half elephant, and he is on but one of many other shelves of failed projects. The large men in green rubber suits watch over the failed projects and feed them.

When Pip the cockroach, who has been above in the real world tells Barnabus about skies and lakes and stars, he encourages the other failures to escape with him. The others also break their glass boundaries and now they chirped, hooted and sang. How nice it was to jump for joy.

Looking up, they found a large failed one-eyed green metal contraption that they knew others called a failure. It was this large contraption that helped them escape. As the water valve opened, the pressure pushed the failures to the top and they saw the world on non-failures.

Now, they live together and are free to watch the sky, the stars, the green grass and all the wonderful things they never saw before. ( )
  Whisper1 | Feb 28, 2021 |
Way, Way, Way below the street, underneath a pet store that sells genetically engineered perfect pets, far below where nobody can see, lives Barnabus. He lives in a glass jar, a cute tiny elephant, along side other glass jars holding his friends. They are the failed experiments. The less-than-perfect pets. Not quite cute enough. Not quite fuzzy enough. Then men in green suits come and feed them, but also put big red stickers on their glass jars.

Fail.

That's what they call Barnabus and all his pals. Failures.

But, Barnabus and his friends will all learn the power of friendship, sticking together through tough times and making the best of life. And.....the joys of not being perfect!!

This book is wonderful! The artwork is gorgeous! And the moral lesson is awesome! Nobody has to be perfect. And those who aren't quite enough to some....can be wonderously awesome to others! Friends stick together and persevere, through good times and bad. Great children's book!!

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Penguin Random House. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.** ( )
  JuliW | Nov 22, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Fanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fan, Devinmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Fan, Ericmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Barnabus lived in a secret lab.
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