The Barnabus Project by The Fan Brothers

The Barnabus Project by the Fan Brothers. 2020. Graphite and colored digitally. Published by Penguin Random House.

Brief summary: Barnabus is a combo of a mouse and an elephant. He lives in a secret lab underneath the Perfect Pets store. Barnabus is one of many failed projects living in bell jars dreaming of the world above thanks to the descriptions of it by a cockroach named Pip. One day Green Rubber Suits come down poking and talking about each creature in a bell jar while putting red stamps on all of the jars…FAIL. Before, they had no idea they were failed lab projects until Pip tells them that they indeed are and that there are better versions of themselves above. The creatures are going to be recycled. Barnabus decides he wants to go up now and see that wonderful world the cockroach tells everyone. All the creatures decide to join Barnabus and their adventures begin with figuring out how to get above. What will they discover?

Comments: I love the imagination and creativity of this book. The Perfect Pets Store is hilarious. Young readers can empathize with the failed projects and the desire of the creatures wanting to escape to live freely in a new world.

The Fan Brothers never fail to share a unique and creative story.

The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers

The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers

The Night Gardener by the Fan Brothers (Terry and Eric Fan, authors and illustrators). 2016. Graphite and colored digitally

Brief Summary: A secret night gardener creates and trims trees to look like animals  each night along Grimloch Lane exciting the residents and making the street more interesting. William’s curiosity leads him out of the house at night to follow a stranger who turns out to be the garden artist. He shows the boy how to create this type of art called topiary.  He leaves clippers for William who makes a fox shaped bush.

Comment: This is the first book for the Fan Brothers.  The illustrations are of people and a street about fifty years ago.  When I share this book with my students, I will make sure they know that it is never a good idea to follow a complete stranger into the night.  I will pair this with the Topiary Park website showing the students that there really are parks like this and one in our own back yard.  I will also show how it is connected to the main library downtown.