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Donny Morrison

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A Spelling Seed for The Barnabus Project


KS: Lower KS2

Year Group: Year 3

Literary Theme: Dreams & Curiosity

Author(s): The Fan Brothers


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book The Barnabus Project by The Fan Brothers.  Below is the coverage from Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum 2014.

Spelling Seeds have been designed to complement Writing Roots by providing weekly, contextualised sequences of sessions for the teaching of spelling that include open-ended investigations and opportunities to practise and apply within meaningful and purposeful contexts, linked (where relevant) to other areas of the curriculum and a suggestion of how to extend the investigation into home learning.

There is a Spelling Seed session for every week of the associated Writing Root.


Word List Words

address, century, consider, experiments, fruit, imagine, naughty, ordinary, potatoes, promise

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Words with the /s/ sound spelt sc (Latin in origin)

Words ending with the /g/ sound spelt -gue and the /k/ sound spelt -que

A Writing Root is available for The Barnabus Project.

Writing Root Overview:


Instructional writing (escape plan, experiment), descriptions, advertisements, letters of advice, dialogue

Main Outcome:



3 weeks, 15 sessions

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a three-week Writing Root for The Barnabus Project by the Fan Brothers. The sequence of learning begins with children visiting a pretend Perfect Pets shop (from the narrative) in the classroom. They will discuss what they look for in the ‘perfect pet’ and use scientific equipment (test tubes and measuring cylinders), coloured water and their imaginations to create their pet. Children will go on to study the gorgeous illustrations in the text and write expanded noun phrases and an advertisement for the Pet shop. While they follow the story of Barnabus and the other ‘failed projects,’ they will write letters of advice and help them create an escape plan. These skills will build towards children writing a brochure for a new pet shop where the pets can be free and choose their home. 

Synopsis of Text:

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 him 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.

This suspenseful and magical story about following your dreams and finding where you truly belong will draw readers into a surreal, lushly detailed world in which perfection really means being true to yourself and your friends.

Text rationale:

This is a poignant story of acceptance and belonging told by the prolific and award-winning Fan Brothers.  Richly woven with themes of working together, accepting who you are and following your dreams, children will engage with the endearing cast of animal-like creatures on their journey to freedom.  Raising questions around what is ‘perfect’, this tale will open up discussions around how to be ourselves and how we can deal with the pressures of the outside world.  Yet again, the Fan Brothers have used their signature imaginative style to bring the story to life and children will enjoy exploring their other books after reading this one.  

Links and themes:

Cooperation, courage, acceptance, following your dreams, freedom, friendship

Date written: July 2023

View The Barnabus Project Writing Root

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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