Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken


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.

Do you have a tiny perfectionist (or two) in your life? Someone who will tear up a paper in a fit after a misstep, and declare tearfully "It's all ruined!!!"? Of course you do, and they NEED this book!

I have known teachers who tore the erasers off every pencil in their room to stop their charges from erasing holes in their papers. In The Book of Mistakes, when Luyken makes a mistake - in ink, no less - rather than starting over, she incorporates the mistake into her picture. Does it end up looking like what she originally intended? Nope - it's even more wonderful and imaginative!

A fun and easy extension might be fun with paint splotches like these monsters we recently created in story time:

Write it in your lesson plans as "building a framework for understanding symmetry", and you are covered.

Or, less messy but also fun, have each student draw a simple smudge or shape on a paper, then trade with another student. Students now draw a picture based around the squiggle they were handed. I would have loved exercises like this in school, but the ones who find it most frustrating are the ones who need to practice it the most, and who will need the most encouragement. Be patient with them! And then put up a hallway display showing how great your kids are at thinking outside the box!

*NOTE: This title has been nominated for the Cybils Award, and I am a first round panelist. There are many nominations and six other judges. My opinions should not be construed as a sign of inclusion or exclusion on the final short list.

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