A Review of The Book of Mistakes

By Alena Rivers

In just a couple of days, I will be attending the Bologna Children’s Book Fair with 11 other Dominican University SOIS students as part of a Special Topics in Youth Services course led by adjunct instructor and the Butler Center’s former curator, Thom Barthelmess. Through this course, and at the fair, we will have the opportunity to explore the international children’s book publishing industry. I am particularly excited to see the Bologna Illustrator’s Exhibition and I was inspired to write today’s post on a picture book we recently received titled, The Book of Mistakes by Corrina Luyken featuring an illustrator’s creative journey.

We continue to select books featuring ALSC Core Values (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness. The Book of Mistakes represents excellence and innovation. Visit the Butler Center to see this galley proof scheduled for release April 18, 2017. We also invite you to visit the Butler Center Facebook and Twitter pages over the next few days to see highlights from the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and an upcoming blog post featuring some picture books collected from the fair.
The Book of Mistakes

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken (Penguin, 2017)

“It started…” as a simple shape on a two-page spread. Young readers may notice that it is the beginning shape of a child’s face. However, the illustration on the following page shows, “…one mistake” where one eye on the child’s face is drawn bigger than the other. No worries, our illustrator can fix that by adjusting the image and adding glasses. Over several pages, this drawing becomes a girl on roller skates and readers are invited to share the illustrator’s experience in the happenstance technique of developing a drawing. Smudges on the paper become leaves flying through the air while an accidental splotch on the girl’s face turns into a cap on her head. By the final pages readers see the compilation of these images in an elaborate and playful scene of several children playing and building forts in a large tree.

Luyken gives readers a sneak-peak behind the artistic process and simultaneously creates an illustration that tells its own story. She keeps readers engaged as she plays with perspective and encourages exploration of the creative process.  Limited text brings focus to the illustrations that evolve from a simple shape into a complex image. Illustrations were created using black ink, colored pencils and watercolors in muted yellow, green and pink. The Book of Mistakes reminds readers to see mistakes as opportunities and would make a great addition to any picture book collection.

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