What’s it like inside the mind of an artist at work? Readers will get an uplifting look at the process in Corinna Luyken’s debut picture book, The Book of Mistakes.
“It started with one mistake,” the book begins, showing a small face on a big white page with one eye noticeably larger than the other. Even the correction fails, as the new eye is even larger than the first. Then voilà, a pair of bright green glasses fixes everything.
As this face evolves into a girl, clever fixes cover additional mistakes: a lacy collar on a too-long neck, elbow patches that disguise a misshapen elbow, roller skates on shoes that don’t touch the ground. Mistakes pile on as the roller-skating girl gradually becomes part of an elaborate, poster-worthy scene: a giant tree full of kids floating through the sky on wildly imagined, balloon-powered contraptions. Anticipation and excitement mount as each part of the scene unfolds through Luyken’s striking use of black ink, white space and deft additions of soft green, yellow and pink watercolor and colored pencil.
Just when you think the scene is complete, Luyken has another trick up her sleeve, deflecting readers’ attention back to the artist and how art is made, warts and all.
Mistakes in art—as in life—happen, and Luyken shows young readers in a glorious way how they often lead to bigger and better outcomes than anyone could imagine.