The Barnabus Project by The Fan Brothers (9780735263260)
Barnabus is a tiny creature who is half elephant and half mouse. He lives in the secret lab under Perfect Pets. The lab was where they made perfect pets, but they also had a section where they housed the creatures they made who were not quite perfect. That’s where Barnabus lived, in the Failed Projects section along with all the other imperfect pets. When the Green Suits came in and marked their glass housings with “FAIL,” Barnabus and the others found out they were being recycled. Barnabus was determined to escape, though the others thought it was impossible. He longed to see the world outside the lab. When Barnabus got himself free, he freed all of the other failed creatures. Together they made their way through the ducts. When they discovered one creature at the center of the lab who was still trapped, it was time to decide whether to save themselves or risk it all.
This is the first time that all three Fan brothers have worked on a book together. If they make things this great as a team, they should keep on working with one another. This book reads like a Pixar cartoon, full of heart and adventure and one tiny hero. Readers will fall hard for Barnabus, the unlikely mix of a mouse and elephant who is marvelously defiant and brave despite his small size. The story is particularly well done. It deals with deep issues such as what perfection is and what makes someone a “fail.” The story arc is strong and interesting with plenty of action and humor.
The art is phenomenal. It is colorful and full of small details that are fascinating to pore over. The differences between Barnabus and the “Perfect Pets” who are fuzzier and more colorful versions of himself are minute and everyone would want Barnabus on their side. The various creatures in the lab are interesting, some lovable, others squirmy, and some both.
A great picture book with a small hero sure to shatter your expectations. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.