The Barnabus Project by The Fan Brothers © 2020
Reading Level: 3rd Grade
Although this is a children’s picture book it has mass appeal. The pictures are stunningly gorgeous! My almost 12 year old daughter immediately stole the book from me on our ride home from the library. She gingerly held the book and read to herself. This is a big deal. My daughter hates to read and I don’t use that word lightly. She would rather rake dog poop from the yard than read. So the fact that she chose to read for pleasure was cause for much rejoicing.
Barnabus discovers that he is a failed experiment of genetic modification: a cross between a mouse and an elephant. However, his eyes are too beady and he isn’t fluffy enough. Consequently, he is slated to be recycled. He questions his identity. What makes him, him? While he questions, he is sure of one thing: he doesn’t want to die! He leads a daring escape and selfless rescue of other failed experiments. My favorite part is the liberation of the giant one-eyed monster at the end because I thought the monster would in fact prove monstrous and kill everybody. (I have an over-active imagination. Honestly, Melanie, this is a children’s book after all.)
While most readers will easily identify with the theme of hope and purpose, the concept of euthanizing (Oh wait! This is a picture book so let’s call it by its socially, friendly, palatable term of “recycle”) our “failures” resounded deep within my being. Where would the world be without failures? Edison. Einstein. Hellen Keller. Fact is we are all broken to some extent but our disabilities are not the result of sin. We exist to give God the Glory (John 9).
Barnabus believes all things are possible. Yet he couldn’t do the impossible alone. Guess what? We can’t do it all alone either. I wish more books were like this one.