The Fan Brothers produce beautiful books and this is no exception. It is a stunning book and readers will be going back to it time and time again to marvel at the artwork.
In a world where pets are made to be perfect, Barnabus - a half mouse, half elephant, finds himself encased in a class jar labelled ‘FAIL’ and put on a shelf with all the other failed projects. Barnabus dreams of the world above the laboratory, a world of lakes and trees and mountains, that he has heard about thanks to Pip the cockroach. Faced with the threat of being recycled by the green rubber suits, Barnabus decides to take action, and he, along with the other failed projects make a daring bid for freedom…
Barnabus and his friends in the failed project section of the lab are not perfect and this book is a celebration of being different. The green rubber suits want to recycle the failed projects and turn them into perfect pets but Barnabus and his friends dash to freedom to find a world where they can be accepted for who they are. This is a great message for young readers; they should be proud of who they are and should celebrate their differences. The story is also about realising your hopes and dreams and shows that with resilience and team-work you can achieve anything.
The illustrations are absolutely sumptuous. The pets are imaginative and charming and the colours throughout the book are lush and vivid.
It is a lovely adventure story with big and important messages at its heart. You don’t have to be perfect to fit in, being yourself is more than enough.
Recommended for 6+.
With thanks to Netgalley and Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for the advanced reader copy.