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The Book of Mistakes

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  3,716 ratings  ·  684 reviews
A picture book about the creative process, and the way in which "mistakes" can blossom into inspiration.

One eye was bigger than the other. That was a mistake.
The weird frog-cat-cow thing? It made an excellent bush.
And the inky smudges... they look as if they were always meant to be leaves floating gently across the sky.

As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published April 18th 2017 by Dial Books
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Diana It's a second grade reading level, but, really, it feels designed to be a read-aloud.…moreIt's a second grade reading level, but, really, it feels designed to be a read-aloud.(less)

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Average rating 4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,716 ratings  ·  684 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books, and we have been doing this for years. Everyone rates each book and adds a comment and it may (or may not) affect my overall rating. This is book #5 of 2017.

Tara: (5 stars). Steam punky. My favorite so far this year.
Harry (12): (4 stars). All of these mistakes opened up into new possibilities.
Hank (11): (3.5 stars).
Lyra (10): (4.75 stars). All the mistakes along the way helped make the drawing/painting better in many way
Jon Nakapalau
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic lesson here - even mistakes can lead to creativity! Young children will be encouraged by the creative ways the artist/writer finds to 'fix' mistakes. ...more
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My son is past the age of simple picture books, but he enjoys the snuggle/reading time with me, so I try to choose wisely. This book is beautiful and inspiring. I love everything about the we all could do well to remember: mistakes happen to everyone and some amazing things start out as mistakes. My son said several times "This is a good book." Imagination and creativity at work show the little ones what a mistake can become. 5 stars ...more
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children

This book celebrates improvisation and imagination. It shows how simple improvised changes can transform artwork 'mistakes' into something that is purposeful and even beautiful. The transformation of the artwork is so subtle at first, but becomes majestic and awe-inspiring by the end.

The illustrations, created using black ink, colored pencils, and watercolor, are simply fantastic and I know that I could spend several minutes looking at almost any individual page and still find something ne
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Gorgeous illustrations in an extra large format with lots of white space. This tells a poetic story of mistakes leading to magic, as they sometimes do in the creative process.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
What a creatively odd, little book!
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
This is an artistic book where continued mistakes in the artwork lead to changes and elaborations of the beautiful fun artwork that is developing. The message of this book is to not let mistakes frustrate you or set you back. Mistakes could lead to discovering beautiful unique ideas or expressions. Learn from and explore your mistakes! This is a beautifully illustrated book sure to inspire young artists everywhere!
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e

And local! Hopefully, she uses our libraries!

This isn't right for storytime, bc the illustrations are too detailed for a large group share, but srsly pick it up to read yourself.

So fresh and stunning.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-enjoy-again
Charming, original, and both accessible and *L*iterary. For all ages. Caldecott-worthy. Purchase-worthy.

Whether in your art or in your life, what are the mistakes that inspired the most growth in you??
Reading Relish
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The illustrations? LOVED IT! The moral of the story? LOVED IT! The story itself? I LOVED IT!!!

In a world where perfection is ingrained into children’s brains, The Book of Mistakes counters this way of thinking. Mistakes often are seen as something to be ashamed of, but in this book, mistakes are shown to spark creativity and problem solving. They add touches that might’ve not been made/discovered had the artist had painted the picture perfectly. And in the end, all of the mistakes ended up makin
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
It was an unusual picture book. I really enjoyed to see the images evolve from something simple, or a mistake, to a complex illustration. It was the strong point of the read as the book lacked a true narrative story. Anyway, the message behind it was interesting. I'm not sure it's a good picture books for small kids, but older ones should appreciate it, especially if they like drawing. ...more
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017, arc
A beautiful children's book that shows how mistakes help make us who we are. Gorgeous illustrations and a message that we all need to hear- mistakes can lead to something beautiful! ...more
I adored this book it is full of imaginative and unusually bright and dark illustrations that will help children to capture an important message; that it is okay to make mistakes occasionally and we should not be ashamed but instead make amends. I would use this book in a KS2 PSHE lesson to help children not feel anxious about making mistakes during art lessons or any areas of the curriculum. I would also use the book as a stimulus to increase their imagination, which could be used for their Eng ...more
Dov Zeller
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, kids, picture-book
Wow. Love this book. Beautiful art, playful, intriguing, poetic, and with a lovely message.
Carolyn Klassen
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
A cute story that shows how mistakes help us grow, help us become ourselves.
Anna Lawrence
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this out loud and had trouble not getting choked up. Stunning.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
The illustrations are BEAUTIFUL! The story is super sweet and encouraging. Great for a small-group read-aloud (K-2nd) and great for discussion on turning mistakes into something great!
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
*sobs quietly* putting all my caldecott 2018 eggs in this basket.
The Book of Mistakes is a metafictive picturebook about the creative process that encourages to embrace the mistakes and set the imagination free.

Corinna Luyken's text is playful and laconic, and her illustrations are quirky and detailed, with ample white space.

All the pauses, clever design, page turns, and wordless sequences create a perfect flow.

The ending is empowering and kind of trippy :)

However, the final message felt a bit heavy-handed to me.
This beautifully illustrated picture book would be great to help instill a growth mindset in young readers. The author takes what she considers to be mistakes and transforms them into something else that works better. So many of my students wad up their paper, throw it away, and want another sheet to start over whenever they are unhappy with their work. The author takes misshapen body parts, odd looking ink splotches, and other "mistakes" and incorporates them into her process. Great for all age ...more
Lesr Kew
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful. Creative. Beautifully drawn. Beautiful message.
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Picture-Books About Creativity & Making Mistakes
Author/artist Corinna Luyken explores the utility of mistakes in the creative process in this delightful picture-book debut. Beginning with a face in which one eye is slightly larger, she demonstrates how mistakes can be used by artists to create better things, and also highlights many good ideas that can come along with mistakes. It's all about perspective, and what one does after making an error. In the end, the ever-expanding picture, that has been building in the artwork throughout the book, ...more
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very cute book that starts with a mistake... or did it? Art is a form all in its own. There are no rules, and definitely no boundaries. Art is in the eye of the beholder and thus there should be no mistakes. A mistake just takes the artist in a different direction, hereby creating something new. All budding artists should read this book and no one should be criticized for creating. Who knows where that incorrect drawing will land your next art sensation. Each page was delightful and the end re ...more
Nancy Kotkin
I love this picture book. With a meta-fictional quality, the artist makes many mistakes, and then incorporates those mistakes into the clever and original illustrations. The art and the message are closely intertwined, the hallmark of a successful picture book. This book shows us that mistakes become the art, and it is through our mistakes that we become the person we are meant to be.
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
One mistake in the drawing of a girl leads to new choices and changes. Making one eye bigger than the other was a mistake, so was making the other eye even bigger, but the glasses were a good idea. Other mistakes are covered by elbow patches and a lacy collar. Strange animals are turned into nice rocks. The girl with the long leg looks good climbing the tree. The other girl needs roller skates to fix the spacing with the ground. On and on, the mistakes continue showing the artistic process when ...more
Amy (Lost in a Good Book)
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This review was published on Lost in a Good Book

For a story with very few words, there is a wonderful profound nature and beauty to it. Luyken shows how small mistakes can become different yet beautiful things and can help create new intentional things.

The illustrations are very bare, the ink pictures the obvious focus of the story, but they are stunning and seeing the creativity and the imagination stem from those small mistakes are divine.

As each little mistake progresses you see the illustrat
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This will make any reader- young or old- fall in love with picture books. In fact, I would suggest adults buy this for themselves even if they don't have kids.

Fans of Barney Saltzberg's Beautiful Oops! and Kobi Yamada's What Do You Do With an Idea? will be quite taken by Corinna Luyken's The Book of Mistakes.

The story starts off with a mistake but, instead of giving up or starting over, the story embraces its mistake. And it leads to unexpected discoveries, more mistakes, and well... you've got
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A lively and original look at how art can evolve from "mistakes". It all begins with a simple light circle, and then another circle that is "too large". The pictures evolve into a whole being and then a landscape and then a party. Lots to think about here, how a mistakecan lead to all kinds of exciting possibilities, be it in illustration, writing, music, etc. And the illustrations are child friendly and very attractive in a simple folk-like style. ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
What I really liked about this and took away from it was the idea that your mistakes can change and grow and morph into new discoveries, and if you don't focus on your mistakes, but instead focus on discovering something new, it's amazing how your mistakes just keep growing smaller and smaller and can downright disappear from view! ...more
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As the mom to two kids who get frustrated when they draw because their pictures don't look they want them to, this book is a sweet gem about how to transform "mistakes" into beauty and creative spaces. I loved it! ...more
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Corinna Luyken is the author-illustrator of THE TREE IN ME; as well as the NY Times bestseller, MY HEART; and THE BOOK OF MISTAKES, which received four starred reviews and has been praised by Entertainment Weekly, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and more. She is also the illustrator of NOTHING IN COMMON, written by Kate Hoefler; ADRIAN SIMCOX DOES NOT HAVE A HORSE, written by Marcy Campbell; WEIRD L ...more

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