Cover Image: The Barnabus Project

The Barnabus Project

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Member Reviews

My daughter and I loved this book; it is so cute!  It is about Barnabus and his friends, who live under a pet shop, as failed science projects.  They long to escape from the science lab before they get destroyed.  Will they make it out to the natural world to see the beauty of nature?  All of the creatures in this book are so cute and loveable.  Barnabus is half elephant and half mouse, and the other creatures are all also different from normal animals.  I just loved them all.  The illustrations in the book are beautiful.

Many thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Beautifully illustrated and easily accessible, this book has the potential to be used for rich discussion linked to multiple areas of the curriculum. I'll definitely be adding a copy to my class book shelf!
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Gorgeous and adorable.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the chance to read a digital arc in exchange for my feedback.
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I read this with my 9 year old though it could be read by any age from about 3 or 4 onwards.  The story was wonderful and engaging, with a great message and the illustrations are gorgeous and funny.  I'd happily buy this as a present for a friend as it is so special.  Will look out for books from these authors as they are amazing!
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Barnabus is a super-cute mix of elephant and mouse, but unfortunately he is classified as a failed project. The book is actually quite harrowing and I was scared for poor Barnabus and what it would mean for him to be recycled.
Beautiful illustrations and a lovely story though it just finished and there didn't seem to be a real ending.
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This is such a beautiful picture book celebrating being different and the power of acceptance.

Barnabus is a 'failed project', living in the basement of the Perfect Pet shop with lots of other creatures that have been deemed 'not perfect'. Together, they realise what is going on and hatch a plan to escape.

The illustrations were so beautiful and the story so powerful - a must-have on any school bookshelf!
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A beautifully illustrated book with an important story. The uncomplicated story has potential to be explored at multiple layers,  and the simple, yet detailed illustrations make this book suitable for a huge age range. I read and reread this, finding different aspects to explore each time. A truly beautiful book.
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This was so much fun! I loved the story; it was exciting enough with valuable lessons. I adored the illustrations and the colour palette. I'm sure Barnabus would be a popular choice among children.
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In a Nutshell: I liked the idea behind this book. I didn’t like the book. I found the content too dark for kids and the plot wasn’t structured well.

Barnabus is a failed project of a pet store. Half mouse and half elephant, he is kept in a glass jar in the basement storage along with the other hybrid misfits. When a cockroach tells Barnabus of the stars and rivers and other beauties of nature, Barnabus decides to escape. As he keeps saying, “nothing is impossible”. Will all the misfits succeed in escaping the dank basement and find freedom? Will they be allowed a chance at happiness despite their appearance? You need to read and find out.

This strange SFF type of story will evoke many emotions in you as Barnabus and his friends attempt to achieve their freedom. There is suspense and sadness and hope and happiness. The positive emotions come mainly in the second half but the end still leaves a bit of sadness and many unanswered questions.
The story is quite metaphorical (though I doubt younger kids might be able to see the deeper meaning of the content without adult guidance.) The quest for perfection, the sad tendency of keeping strange things away from the public eye, the courage to follow your dreams regardless of what people say, the willingness to work with cooperation and team spirit, the belief in yourself and the determination to at least try… all are brought out pretty well in the story. 

At the same time, I’m not really sure how it works as a children’s book because of its initial plot idea of keeping misfits in glass jars in the basement. (That’s scary for little kids!) Add to it the mention of genetically modified animals and of theirs being “recycled” if they aren’t perfect. I’m not really sure if this is the best way to introduce the idea of how foolish the quest for perfection can be. Also, the aim of the story seems to be how the trapped animals can be free. Barnabus’ purpose is to find freedom. But he is still disheartened that he isn’t “perfect”. But then he declares “I’m not perfect, but at least I am free!” What’s the idea behind that? How are the two things connected? I’m not very convinced about the handling of this particular aspect of the narrative.  

The illustrations are extraordinary. Be it the perfect pets in the store of the misfits in the basement, every creature is drawn well and serves to increase your enjoyment. The artwork is the best part of the book.

To sum up, I partly like the concept but I don’t think it was executed well. I find most children’s books cute and/or heartwarming but this one did neither. Looking at the other gushing reviews, I certainly feel like I’m the outlier here, but it is what it is. :/ 

2.5 stars, rounding up because it’s a kiddie book and I hate being a Scrooge for children’s fiction.

My thanks to Quarto Publishing Group and NetGalley for the ARC of “The Barnabus Project”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.
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A really, really rich fantasy world is the highlight of this dramatic picture book for the young.  Flawless art shows us a world of animals, led by Barnabus, a kind of experimental pet that is half elephant and half mouse, and all failure, according to the nasty human types who invented them all.  With dreams of the outside world embedded in his mind by a friendly cockroach, Barnabus must try and save the critters, before they get redrafted into something else.  And yes, I am using a word like redrafted, because (a) I know no better, and (b) you do have to hedge around the fact this is a dark world, of bizarre and monstrous critters and Bad Science.  Still, Barnabus is dead cute, the art gives a lovely sheen to everything and smooths over the dark shadows most age-appropriately, and the story of escape, finding yourself and not needing someone else's idea of perfection comes across most brilliantly – to the extent you could easily get young readers lead in an "I'm Barnabus!" chant with no idea about the film which they'd be misquoting.  A standout title, and as close to five stars as makes no difference.
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I really loved this story! Such a fun read!

Barnabas is faulty but curious project. He and his friends escape the laboratory and lives happy life outside.

The only thing I would've changed, is the morale of the story. For example children found Barnabas and his friends and took them home instead of "Perfect friends".
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This was actually amazing and one of my favorite children books this year.
First of all, I loved the art style, it has a vintage vibe that reminded me of the picture books I had when I was a child. It is very atmospheric, with a bit of weirdness, poetic imagery and cute characters. The illustrations are detailed and make the reader want to stop on each page to look at what is going on; I really loved analyzing the situations and locations that were depicted.
It's also one of those books that can be enjoyed by young readers but also carry deeper messages that'll speak to adults. It is about the idea of "perfection" and the expectations that are put on people; about how there is one way to be and if you are imperfect, you're deemed unfit. This little book is about misfits and people who are a bit different, and how these characters are kept hidden underground. The main character learns to love himself the way he is, despite being shown the possibility of becoming "perfect". There's also a very cute found family of characters who love and help each other and never give up on their friends, which was so heartwarming!
I think this story will speak to queer readers, as well as anyone who feels like they have to hide parts of themselves, or like they've been hidden by other people. 
If you're looking for a story about friendship and a way to celebrate your own weirdness, this is such a nice pick!
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Beautiful little book that I find really charming and I think most children would as well! I recommend it!
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This book is absolutely beautiful. I remember when it came out in hardback and I could not take my eyes off of it. It is a lovely simple story filled with the weird and wonderful however I fell in love very quickly with barnabus. I cannot wait to read more from these authors/illustrator
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This has to be one of the best illustrated story books this year. The Barnabus Project tells the story of a group pets who are classified as misfits and held in jars below a pet shop. The Fan brothers have produced a book that will appeal to all children and the young at heart adults who open their minds to a beautiful and poignant story.The illustrations capture every emotion of the “ misfits” and beautifully creates the underworld in which they are captured. Showing the power of unity in numbers to fight against the system and control, this is a winning book and will melt your heart.
Highly rated
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