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The Book of Mistakes
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The Book of Mistakes

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  2,599 Ratings  ·  485 Reviews
Zoom meets Beautiful Oops! in this memorable picture book debut 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.

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Hardcover, 56 pages
Published April 18th 2017 by Dial Books
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Diana Thomsen It's a second grade reading level, but, really, it feels designed to be a read-aloud.

Community Reviews

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David 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(athan) 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.
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
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
What a creatively odd, little book!
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.
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
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.
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!
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??
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.
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
Shelves: childrens
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!
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.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
*sobs quietly* putting all my caldecott 2018 eggs in this basket.
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.
مصطفي سليمان
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
قصة لطيفة جدا تمشي تدريجيا مع الفكرة ان هناك خطئ ف الرسم ولكن برتوش بسيطة تنقلب الي ميزة مع كل عيب يمكن اضافة تفصيلة لكي يتحول ل شئ مميز وصولا في النهاية لنكتشف في النهاية انها قصة المؤلفة بشكلا ما
القصة غاية في اللطف والنعومة، الرسوم بسيطة وتتدرج الي ان يتكون عالم متكامل غاية في البساطة و الجمال
حقيقي حاجة غاية في اللطف
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.
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!
Jillian Heise
Love!! Meta, perseverance, accepting mistakes, making the best of a situation. And wonderful perspective illustrations. This is going to be a favorite of mine for the year!
Carol Scrimgeour
I too was thinking of Istvan Banyai and Zoom and Re-Zoom as I was reading this clever book. There's no real plot to speak of but it's fascinating to turn the pages and see what develops.
Matthew Hunter
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Book of Mistakes may have words, but it’s all about the artwork. Luyken could not have provided us with a more perfect lesson for our 7-year-old: Don’t let mistakes get you down, learn from them and expect great things to follow. “Set your imagination free”; “the biggest blunders can spark the brightest inspiration”; “the way we look at the world, and ourselves, is always a work in progress” - just three of the numerous ways Luyken describes her hopes for reader takeaways. Simple, but powerf ...more
A young artist begins a picture of a girl...but one eye is noticeably larger than an other. That was a mistake. But she takes that mistake and tries to correct it. Slowly, through a combination of successes and mistakes, she creates something worthwhile. The text is pretty simple; the illustrations are the real star in this book. I love that children can see that mistakes can turn into opportunities...opportunities to use creativity and problem solving skills, opportunities to improve or learn s ...more
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Admittedly, this isn't going to go on my list of favorite picture books, it's a little too odd for that. And I'm not a fan of odd. But that doesn't mean the book doesn't have a great deal of merit. The idea of turning mistakes into something new and creative is certainly a great theme. And it's definitely interesting to see the way the author/illustrator turned mistakes into something different. There is a lot here worth sharing, especially with children who tend to give up on things when they m ...more
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love that this book takes a look at perfectionism because I think it's something that a lot of people/kids struggle with but is rarely talked about. I love that it shows that it's ok to make mistakes because we can always turn them into something new- lemonade from lemons and all that. Just lovely!
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful Story! Luyken has created a very special story from beginning to end using a simple drawing that looks like a mistake but ends up being something very unique. The ending was magnificent and I almost shed a tear. For if only we can view our mistakes as just part of our journey as we work to be the best person we can be.
Katie Handford
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This book teaches an important message of not letting mistakes frustrate us or set us back as well as that mistakes can lead to discovering unique ideas, turning mistakes into something amazing and to learn from and explore mistakes.
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What are your thoughts on this little book? 1 1 May 29, 2018 07:23PM  
Corinna Luyken is the author-illustrator of THE BOOK OF MISTAKES, which received four starred reviews and has been praised by Entertainment Weekly, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and more. She also illustrated Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have A Horse, written by Marcy Campbell. She lives in Olympia, WA with her husband, daughter, and two cats. You can see more of her work at
“Do you see - how with each mistake she is becoming?” 1 likes
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