The Barnabus Project


Deep beneath Perfect Pets live the Failed Projects within their self-contained bell jars. They’re fed daily by the Green Rubber Suits. In Barnabus’ case, it’s cheese and peanuts.

Although they’ve never been above ground, friends like cockroach Pip, tell them stories of the big wide world. Therefore, when the Green Rubber Suits arrive one day to stamp the bell jars with red labels that declare them Failed, Barnabus learns they’re destined for remodelling. Yet what if Barnabus, half mouse- half elephant, does not want to be fluffier, cuter or have bigger eyes? What if he is quite happy in his own skin? Is this the time for resistance?

The Barnabus Project is borne at the moment that Barnabus stirs the other Failed Projects to break free. Yet how do they remove themselves from their bell jars? Thereafter how do they escape the basement, and the Green Rubber Suits? What awaits them should they ever manage to reach ground level?

The Barnabus Project is a magnificent picture book of hope, team work, imagination and pride. Its lush colours, depth, tone and wonder are breathtaking. Bookwagon adores the work of The Fan Brothers. The Barnabus Project has no need to be fluffier or cuter for it’s quite perfect….


The Barnabus Project

The Fan Brothers

(Frances Lincoln)– hardback

The Barnabus Project, takes place at Perfect Pets, where they peer and prod and ‘put red stamps on all the jars’  in the lab called Failed Projects. Barnabus is part of these projects. He accepts his rather small home and visits by the ‘Green Rubber Suits’ who feed him his ‘favourite food- cheese and peanuts’. However, what do the red stamps mean?
Pip, the cockroach, who brings tales from the outside suggests he’s going to be recycled and ‘fluffier afterwards’. Thereafter, he’ll ‘be cuter‘ while his ‘eyes will probably be bigger’. Although Barnabus, a project of half mouse- half elephant, has lived all his life in the basement of Perfect Pets, something stirs within him. ‘We need to escape!‘ he inspires the other Failed Projects. Yet how can a mouse-elephant hope to break open a bell jar confinement? Furthermore, if they break free, how will they manage all the obstacles, like high shelves or heavy doors? These Failed Projects have never ventured into an outside of any kind!
The Fan Brothers’ work is breathtaking. We languish over their books The Night Gardener and Ocean Meets Sky. With The Barnabus Project we have the daring of their imagination alongside the wonder of their sumptuous colours of discovery and possibility anew. This time, Eric and Terry and joined by brother Devin in their work. There is no great Failed Project, but a title of such empathy, humanity and possibility.
Therefore, in a time of uncertainty, Bookwagon suggests we need The Barnabus Project more than ever. It’s a call to us break open our bell jars and work together. It may not be perfect, but hope sets us free…


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