The Barnabus Project (Hardcover)

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The Barnabus Project By Terry Fan, Eric Fan, Devin Fan Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

Barnabus, a wee cross between an elephant and a mouse, is one of the "Failed Projects" hidden deep beneath the Perfect Pets emporium of a busy city. When it appears that a drastic lab clean-up threatens him and his colorfully named peers, he leads a bell-jar breakout--one that takes them up to see the night sky he's always dreamed of.

Terry, Eric, and Devin Fan grew up together in Toronto and have been long-time collaborators. The Barnabus Project has gorgeous illustrations--full of humor with a Monsters, Inc., vibe. And the book can be as soulful as E.T. in teaching a lesson about acceptance.

— Carol Muller


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 him 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.

About the Author

TERRY, ERIC and DEVIN FAN grew up in Toronto, where they continue to live and work. Since a young age, the three brothers have collaborated on creative projects, including artwork, picture book manuscripts and even screenwriting. Recipients of the prestigious Sendak Fellowship as well as Kate Greenaway Medal nominees and Governor General's Literary Award winners, Terry and Eric are the author/illustrators of the critically acclaimed books The Night Gardener and Ocean Meets Sky, and the illustrators of the bestselling Chris Hadfield-penned picture book The Darkest Dark, Dashka Slater's The Antlered Ship and Beth Ferry's The Scarecrow. Devin Fan is an artist, poet and youth worker who has a passion for nature, adventures and kung fu. The Barnabus Project is his first children's book and marks the first time all three brothers have written and illustrated a picture book together.

Praise For…

WINNER of the 2020 Governor General's Literary Award for Young People — Illustrated Text!
WINNER of the 2021 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Prize!

A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of the Year
One of’s Best of the Year Picks
One of Evanston Public Library's 101 Great Books for Kids 
One of Booklist's Editors' Choice Books for Youth 2020
A CBC Books Bestseller
A Golden Duck Notable Picture Books List Pick
A 2021 Bank Street Book of the Year

PRAISE FOR The Barnabus Project:

“A heartfelt, timely allegory celebrating diversity, bravery, and solidarity.” —STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews

"[A]n ambitious drama of rebellion, escape, and inclusivity rewarded." —STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly

“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.” —STARRED REVIEW, Booklist

“A fun tale with a big heart, for all ages and all collections.” STARRED REVIEW, School Library Journal

“In the Fan brothers’ hands, the result feels like a happy amalgam of Jules Verne, Maurice Sendak, the Moomins, and Monsters, Inc. —STARRED REVIEW, Quill & Quire

“The story’s exploration of his longing to be free paired with the book’s always timely message of acceptance gives The Barnabus Project mass appeal and a timeless quality.” —BookPage

"Young children will delight in the colourful illustrations while older readers will admire Barnabus for his courage and virtue. The Barnabus Project is a book with wide appeal. It is sure to be a hit." —CM: Review of Canadian Materials

“An adventure to rival all picture-book adventures.” Shelf Awareness

"A funny and tender picture book. . . . [V]isual surprises and pleasures abound in this cathartic delight for children."Wall Street Journal

“When he and his imperfect friends decide to make a break for freedom, you’ll root for them every step of the way.” —Evanston Public Library

“The storyline is like blades ever-turning and a twist on a timeless tale which remains fresh.” International Examiner
Product Details
ISBN: 9780735263260
ISBN-10: 0735263264
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date: September 1st, 2020
Pages: 72
Language: English