I chanced upon this book while searching for another title by Mark Pett (I was in fact looking for The Boy and the Airplane, but that’s a review for another day).
I was immediately drawn to the title. The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes sounded like the perfect book to read with C.
Nine year-old Beatrice Bottomwell was the perfect little girl – she never forgot her math homework, never wore mismatched socks, and always remembered to feed her pet hamster. She has NEVER made a mistake. In fact, with this record of perfection, Beatrice was known as “The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes” in her hometown.
In contrast, she has a little brother Carl, who seemed to relish making mistakes (and having fun at the same time!)
We meet Beatrice on the day before the annual talent show in school (which she has won with her juggling act three years in a row).
As we follow her through the day, we are given subtle hints that Beatrice has maintained her record of perfection by following the same routine each time, and avoided activities like skating where there was a risk of making a mistake. Life has been smooth for her.
However, on this day, things go a little differently. She slips during a cooking class, and narrowly avoids dropping her eggs.
This almost-mistake causes Beatrice to worry for rest of the day. What if she blunders during the talent show?
On the night of the talent show, her worst fears are realized, and she makes her first mistake, a BIG mistake, in front of a large audience who expected perfection from The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes.
So how did Beatrice react? Did she cry? No. She laughed, and the audience laughed along. Mistakes were not bad afterall.
At the end of the story, we see Beatrice enjoying her freedom after shedding the label “The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes” – wearing mismatched socks, having inside-out PB&J sandwiches, going skating with her friends, having fun 🙂
I had a feeling that C would be able to relate to Beatrice. I was right. C was engrossed in the story. When Beatrice stood drenched in front of the audience, C was near tears. When Beatrice laughed, C laughed along. At the end of the story, C told me, “Everyone makes mistakes, it’s ok not to do it right all the time.”
C requested to keep the book for a longer period of time because she wanted to re-read it (I had borrowed it from the library). I’m happy to note that she did read it again by herself.
I had initial concerns that the illustrations might not appeal to C, but they proved to be unfounded. The storyline is simple, but got the message across very effectively. After reading the book with C, we got to discuss the fear of failure, risk-tasking and perfectionism.
Recommended for all little perfectionists!
Do you have a little perfectionist at home?