Reviews for The book of mistakes

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A striking debut picture book celebrates the creative process.Spread by spread, text identifies "mistakes" in art that give way to inspired new creations. "Even the ink smudges scattered across the sky / look as if they could be leaves / like they'd always wanted to be lifted up / and carried," reads text representative of the lyrically ruminative language, and it's juxtaposed with art depicting just such a scene as a little black child looks up at the smudgy leaves. Twists and turns of the changing compositions will provoke delight in readers examining the pages to see how the white girl with the glasses (which started off as eyes that looked too big) changes, and then how she will fit into the increasingly complex compositions. The evolving black ink, colored pencil, and watercolor pictures seem at once spontaneous and refined against the white space of the page. Careful looking will be rewarded with surprising, often funny details in the art, which invites poring over and will slow down the reading of the spare text. The main character, the bespectacled white girl, is eventually joined by a diverse group of other children who play in and around a festive, fantastic-looking tree, all rendered in a style and palette somewhat reminiscent of Erin E. Stead's work but distinctive in its own right. It would be a grave mistake not to pick up this picture book. (Picture book. 4-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

PreS-Gr 3-It starts with a mistake, but page by page, one slightly too large eye, a wonky elbow, and feet a little too far off the ground transform and combine into a larger picture-one that not only is functional but also works perfectly. Illustrations rendered in ink, colored pencil, and watercolor are the focal point. They start small-just a circle, a few lines, a dot on the page, a subtle bit of color here and there-but they slowly grow, flowing across one page and onto the next before reverting back to a smaller image that begins to slowly grow again. Each page shows one small glimpse of the final picture, inviting readers to turn the page to see the rest. The simple text draws readers' attention to the illustrations, and thorough examination is rewarded with playful little details. This is a story about how mistakes can change us all for the better if we are brave enough to face them and march ahead. Readers will love following along as the small spots and smudges on each page change the work in fun and unexpected ways, and even younger readers will finish with fresh optimism and a new idea of what mistakes may become. VERDICT Children, especially fledgling artists, will want to pore over this volume one-on-one. A must-have for every library.-Maggie Mason Smith, Clemson University, SC Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* An inkblot and a face with an eye that's too big are those mistakes? The juxtaposition of mistakes and opportunity is the through line of this original offering that gives children a new way to think about the creative process. Each turn of the oversize, snow-white pages adds a fresh detail to the ink painting slowly being constructed. As the minimal text notes, some are good ideas the glasses on the character's face, for instance. Others, like the extra-long neck, not so much. But as the artwork becomes more detailed, and bits of color, then more, are added here and there, it becomes clear that even the unintentional or the unappealing can be turned into embellishments that enhance the whole. Sometimes the mistakes fundamentally change the whole, but if children are open to getting off the beaten path, they can find themselves immersed in magical new endeavors. Luyken, a debut author, delves into her own creative process, providing images to ponder. The final few spreads, especially, can be the springboard for an interesting discussion of imagination. One thing's for sure: this will lead kids to see their own so-called mistakes in a new, more positive light.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2017 Booklist

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