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 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.

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Age Appropriate: 4-7 years’ old

Date of Publication: 10/06/20


The authors of this extremely impressive picture book are Eric Fan, Terry Fan & Devin Fan.

Eric and Terry are international bestsellers and this time are joined by their brother Devin.

The Book is being publish by Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd who has a great reputation of creating wonderful picture books.

Rating: 4.5/5


This was our first time reading a book written and illustrated by the Fan brothers. This was a lovely book that has a very strong message of acceptance and diversity. The main character is Barnabus half mouse and half elephant and he is just adorable who dreams about seeing the stars and the outside world. Barnabus won’t give up on his dream of being free and he helps his friends who are also failed projects of different species and colours to find freedom as well.

In the story the friends are living in bell jars labelled as failed projects. To be able to succeed in their mission to escape all the fail projects need to work together. Their friendship is strong which we can clearly see and they stick together.

One of the main lessons is acceptance. To love ourselves the way we are and to feel proud of ourselves.

The art in this story is just beautiful, the illustrations are full of small, fine details and it is really colourful. There are illustrations on every single page which makes this book full of art and it makes the story come to life and the children were able to follow it easily. 

The book is written with a narrator making it easy to understand the story and with an easy vocabulary making it easy to read.

One thing that I wish is that there could be a bit more text and depth story just because of the topics that this book focuses on. I would had liked if the main themes would have been explored a little more.

Overall a great picture book that we will be adding to our bookshelf 😁

Availability: The book is available for pre-orders on line in all Good Bookshops. 

Thank you so much for reading this review.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and to Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for providing me with a copy.

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