Free Fridays: The Book of Mistakes

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The Book of Mistakes written and illustrated by Corrina Luyken is a commentary on how mistakes are not always bad and can lead to bigger and better things. In The Book of Mistakes, Luyken uses her “mistakes” to build a world of creativity.

On the very first page, there is a partially drawn head and face with only one eye. When the reader turns the page, the face now has two eyes, but one is significantly bigger than the other. Luyken then goes on to talk about how “making the other eye even bigger was another mistake,” but then fixes that mistake by giving the girl a funky pair of glasses.

With every “mistake” the author creates the girl and makes her better and better until she is a complete being. 

The author tries to create other things as well. She makes a “frog-cat-cow thing” that she turns into a “very nice rock.” A girl climbing a tree has a leg thats too long, but that only means she was meant to be climbing that tree.

Every “mistake” that the author makes, she turns into something even more relevant to the story. The ink splotches at the top of the page make for beautiful leaves blowing in the wind, an ink drop on the girls head becomes a helmet, and pen streaks across a page become strings for balloons. 

By the end of the story, there is an entire scene of supposed mistakes: a treehouse filled with children and balloons.

The scene gradually gets smaller and smaller until you see that is really all part of the girls imagination and that she is the creator of all of it herself.

I think that this is a very important book for parents and educators to be aware of becasue it is fun and colorful, as well as an important message for children. It is a story about mistakes and creativity and that all mistakes can be turned into something even more amazing than originally intended. The illustrations tie perfectly into the story and even carry the story when words don’t. They are simple yet complex in the meanings they hold. Overall, The Book of Mistakes has probably become one of my new favorite picture books and I reccommend that everyone read it when they get a chance.

-Mollie McMullan

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