Published by Tundra Books
Summary: Barnabus is a part-elephant, part-mouse creature who lives in a bell jar in the basement of Perfect Pets. He was created to be a Perfect Pet, but instead joined others in the part of the factory called Failed Experiments. He’s comfortable and well-fed there, but sometimes wonders about the outside world. When he and the others learn they are about to be recycled, they start planning their escape. With Barnabus leading the way, they manage to break out of their jars and travel through the labyrinth of pipes that ultimately take them to the great outdoors. The final few pages see them living happily in a park, sometimes facing hardships, but working together to create a happy–and free–life for themselves. 72 pages; grades K-5.
Pros: As one of the Fan Brother biggest–well, fans, I was delighted to see a new book by them (there are now three brothers on the team: Terry, Eric, and newcomer Devin). Their wildly imaginative landscapes and animals could easily be turned into a Pixar film, and kids are sure to fall in love with the “Failed Experiments” that are adorable hybrids of different real animals.
Cons: The somewhat creepy premise of animals living in bell jars until they’re recycled as well as the 72-page length may make this a picture book better suited to older readers.