EMWF Kids' Reads

The Barnabus Project
Written and Illustrated by the Fan Brothers
Published by Penguin Random House

A book review by Cassia (7), Hunter (9), Madeline (6) and Willie (10)!
Watch Wild Willie's book review here!

Don't miss our event with Devin Fan on September 1! Details and registration.


Welcome Cassia, Hunter, Madeline and Willie! Can you tell us what this book is about?

Cassia: The book is about an animal named Barnabus, who is half elephant and half mouse. He was created in a lab. Because of Pip the cockroach, who tells stories of a sparkling silver lake, tall green trees and mountains lit with their own stars, he dreams of visiting the world above. Unfortunately, Barnabus lives in a glass jar and can’t escape. With the help of his friends, he escapes to the outside world.

Hunter: The Barnabus Project is about a failed project named Barnabas who is half mouse and half elephant. He lives in a bell jar in a secret underground lab, and dreams about seeing the world his friend Pip the cockroach tells him stories about.

Madeline: Barnabus is an elephant mouse. He likes his friends. He is stuck in the jar. He wants to get free and be a pet, but the green suits are after him. So he runs away by letting the sewer take all the silly creatures up and hiding in the fan. Also, he wants to get free so he knows what’s going to be above him. They are happy when they are above ground and work together. They want to go up there to try to make the humans to give them as pets because I think they’re perfect for a pet.

What do you like about this book?

Cassia: I liked that the authors were creative with the animals. They used half of one animal and half of another to create a new animal. I also liked that it was fiction so the authors could create a new world with different animals and places.

Hunter: I like the fact that the main character in the story is part mouse and part elephant and I really liked the message of the story - that it doesn't matter if you are different, it’s okay to be unique. I also thought it was funny that all the failed projects for the Perfect Pets store were cuter than the ones that weren’t failures.

Madeline: The blue and white monster that looks like it can suck things up.

What was your favourite part of the story? 

Cassia: My favourite part of the story was when they freed the giant monster and I was able to see what it looked like.

Hunter: My favourite part in the book is the great escape when Barnabus frees all of the other failed projects from their bell jars and we can see more detailed drawings of the characters.

Madeline: The beginning where the person who wrote this book was telling us where they lived was kind of cool with all the tubes.

What do you like about the illustrations?

Cassia: The illustrations have a lot of details and bright colours. I especially like the illustrations of the outside world. One picture had lots of bright and colourful flowers, and trees with lots of leaves.

Madeline: I think they’re kind of cool because the look of it has lots of cool ideas. I just like that the colours that are touching each other look cool together, especially that thing full of lights with the green roof on it.

I like the ones [of the city] that mostly had colours that were very similar in them. The grass is very pretty, too; it’s blue curving. I really like the tree on the grass.

The park picture looks very nature-y. Look how much nature is in it. It’s full of green and rainbow and grass.

Why should other kids read this book?

Cassia: Kids should read this book because it has a great lesson that you can do big things by working together. There are also some very cool and interesting animals that kids will really like.

Hunter: Kids should read this book because it recognizes differences and says that it’s okay to be unique.  The book also has awesome illustrations - all of the failed projects are drawn uniquely, they are different in every way, and they are really adorable. I think it’s a great book for kids, especially ones that maybe feel different to everybody else or not perfect because there’s no way to be perfect except the way you are.

Madeline: It’s funny because there is an elephant mouse and there are other imaginary, silly creatures.

If you could ask the author a question, what would it be?

Cassia: I would ask the authors how they came up with the names of the different animals. I’d also want to know what each animal was called.

Hunter: I would like to ask the author, why was the “secret lab” a secret from the public, when the store Perfect Pets is not a secret?
I would like to ask the illustrator what inspired them to draw such creative creatures?

Madeline: Why are the pets perfect if they all look so silly?

Thank you Cassia, Hunter, Madeline and Willie!