Barney and Mr. Thomas Series

“Just finished Barney and Mr. Thomas (middle grade sci-fi) by Mimi Strom. I haven’t read middle grade in a long time, so this was a great refresher. Also a linked short story collection which I’ve never read before.

It is about an inventor and his assistant going on all these crazy adventures while learning the true meaning of friendship.


This book is everything that an middle grade book should be: funny, creative, and educational.

This was the funniest book I’ve ever read. Laughs for all ages that doesn’t include body humor or cheap gags. It was funny from the beginning to the end.

Also super creative. How do other authors think of this kind of stuff? I was deeply engaged, and blasted through it in two days.

This book, being a sci-fi, was also educational, but not to the point that you’re aware of it. It’s more full of science fun facts than being a lecture.”

– Hannah Strom (Author of the Door in My Hand)


Book 1: Barney and Mr. Thomas

Eleven year old Barney Gile turns into an alligator creature when he’s upset. The hardest part of this is keeping it secret. Luckily, the inventor he lives with, Mr. Thomas, can help him. Barney also has another issue. He wants to get closer to Mr. Thomas, but the inventor calls being close to anyone dangerous. Barney never knew why this was until a gun-and-science loving couple starts hunting them down.

Together, Barney and Mr. Thomas go on all sorts of adventures, each one a separate story. Sometimes they’re battling the crazy couple and other times they’re going to strange places like inside a video game or the Mirror World. They’re also meeting people like a clone who thinks he’s a goat or a brave girl who might have a crush on Barney.

As they go on more and more adventures, Barney realizes Mr. Thomas is the closest thing he’s ever had to a friend. Maybe he’s even the father Barney never had, but does Mr. Thomas feel the same way?


Book 2: Barney, Mr. Thomas, and the Alligator Creature

Eleven-year-old Barney Gile turns into an uncontrollable alligator creature whenever he gets too upset. Ever since he was rescued from a swamp by Mr. Thomas, a kind inventor who fears love, Barney has been happy. Happy joining Mr. Thomas on crazy adventures to different worlds and making strange machines. Barney has never seen a reason to remember his past. Until he finds out the horrible truth.

Barney and Mr. Thomas meet the couple who created Barney, and he isn’t their only project. Amber and Ivan are sweet talkers, able to convince the other hybrid children into believing they belong to them. Barney worries they might even entrance him to live with them.

With the help of a rat who is turning into a boy and inventions like a mind-jumper, Barney and Mr. Thomas are going on adventures while figuring out how to free the rest of the hybrids. But it seems like the hybrid children don’t want to be saved. They are content with their lives lacking real families. How is Barney supposed to convince them Amber and Ivan are the unloving ones when the couple is constantly reminding Barney that Mr. Thomas is scared to love?

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