Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg

“Beautiful Oops” serves as a delightful, bright, interactive book for kids, demonstrating through paper art that a spill, tear or smudge can be transformed into a piggy, crocodile’s smile, or a bunny. As preschoolers name the action, “the elephant,” “a fishy,” the text is telling another story of stains, drips and smears that lead to exploring, or finding worth and potential in an “oops.” I applaud children’s authors who use strong vocabulary to push young minds, getting them ready for reading. But let’s go up the growth chart a step and see this book’s relevance for older kids. I can imagine a teacher reading this to a circle of fourth graders and starting the conversation about making mistakes–what slip ups do we make in our school work? How do we use our “mistakes” to revise or go in a different direction? “Beautiful Oops” could launch a writing assignment or a collaborative class discussion looking at “goofs” that kids shared for possible ideas for potential fixes or trying a new direction. This little book can be read on many levels to inspire, teach or just entertain.

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