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The Barnabus Project

Book Synopsis

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 are 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 he 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.

Our Review Panel says...

The Barnabus Project is a unique and beguiling picture book that will intrigue KS2 children, with magical illustrations and an original storyline.

Barnabus lives in a lab for genetically engineered pets, but is left hidden away in a jar as a ‘failed project’. He dreams to escape, and calls on an eclectic group of fellow rejects to put his escape plan into action.

If you are familiar with the work of the incredible Fan brothers, you’ll know to except stunning illustrations with details designed to intrigue, delight and challenge. There’s plenty of peril and suspense in the story, and KS2 children will love getting stuck into this ‘older’ picturebook. Ultimately the messages are of teamwork, acceptance and not giving up on dreams – with scope for some deeper discussions about the ethics of genetic engineering and animal captivity, as well as conversations about celebrating difference.

This stunning book is a Key Stage 2 picturebook must-read.



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