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.

Henry and Leo by Pamela Zagarenski

Henry and Leo by Pamela Zagarenski

Henry and Leo by Pamela Zagarenski; illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. 2016. Mixed media.

Brief summary: A young boy loves his stuffed lion toy, Leo, and takes it everywhere including on a long walk in the forest with his family. Henry becomes too tired to walk back, so his father carries his young son home. Henry wakes up as he is put into his bed realizing that Leo is missing. The family searches for Leo but do not find him, so they decide to look again in the morning. Henry worries Leo will be scared and is told by his mother that his stuffed animal is not real. With the help of some forest animals, Leo finds his way back to Henry.

Comments: All children will relate to the love of a plush toy and the emotion involved of losing it even for just a night.