Book Review: The Book of Mistakes

Does this look like a Mistake?

Do you feel like you are a work in progress? I know I do! And I think that is why I am drawn to this clever children’s book, The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken. As you can imagine, there are not many words on any of the pages, just often the word “mistake.”

As the artist draws a splotch here and there, an eye too big, and a foot too large, with too much space between foot and sidewalk and more, the creative process unfolds in the drawing pointing out the mistakes. Yes, many mistakes.

And then something marvelous happens with all of those mistakes. Beauty, form, creativity, whimsy, a story full of hopes and imagination. What began as something wrong became right.

How many adults – let alone children – have little patience for any mistakes that we make? If it is not perfect from the start, why bother? I have come to realize that perfection is really rather boring and all that work to be boring is pretty arduous. But, ah! Mistakes. Mistakes take us to unknown places, create journeys we never intended to take, help us see something we never would have seen without the mistake.

Mistakes personify and embody life – the creative one and beyond. We often think we can read large non-fiction books about mistakes and figure out how to make peace with our mistakes and not make them in future.

Alternatively, you can turn to a book like this that names the mistakes during the creative process and courageously follows where they lead. Ah! A fresh take on making mistakes!