The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

written by Mark Pett & Gary Rubinstein
illustrated by Mark Pett


Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein's The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

Book review by Dimitrios Sokolakis

Ages 4-11


The importance of making mistakes

Fear of failure: An important social issue that parents should acknowledge and deal with during their children’s course to maturity. This is just the case in the story The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes. The book’s lead character is Beatrice Bottomwell. People have great expectations from her since she doesn’t make mistakes. Will she be able to meet these expectations and save the day?

Review - The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

Let’s take it from the beginning: Beatrice Bottomwell is probably what every parent imagines as the perfect nine-year-old. Unlike her brother Carl who’s a typical gawky four-year-old, Beatrice is polite, she makes her bed every morning, she finishes her math homework on time, she takes care of Carl, and she is solely responsible for taking care of her pet, Hubbert the hamster. Beatrice manages to match her socks and put her shoes on their proper feet. (She could run for President one day!)

That’s all good but let’s get to something tricky: Can she toss Humbert into the air, together with the salt shaker and a water balloon and juggle them without missing a beat? As a matter of fact, she can (huh?). For that reason, Beatrice Bottomwell, widely known as the girl who never made mistakes, is awarded a prize, three years in a row, in the school’s talent show.

Ok, I give up, she’s a wonder child, and everyone admires her. She’s perfect and probably the happiest kid in the world… or maybe not?

At school, Beatrice is on a cooking team; four eggs are required for the muffin recipe. Beatrice goes to the refrigerator to get them when, on her way back, she slips. She is about to make her first mistake… but she doesn’t; she manages to juggle the eggs and catch them all.

This near mistake troubles Beatrice. Afterwards, she worries that she’s going to mess up in the talent show later in the day (where she’s aiming for her fourth win). She doesn’t go ice-skating with her friends, Millie and Sarah, she barely touches her food at supper, and she's anxious at the possibility of making a mistake.

After supper, Beatrice gets prepared and goes to the talent show. Her stomach is jumping around inside her. While waiting for her juggling music to start, a woman yells “That’s her! That’s the Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes!” “Oh! We know she’ll be perfect,” replies a man.

The music starts and Beatrice tosses Humbert into the air, together with the salt shaker and a water balloon. Beatrice doesn’t miss a beat and the audience claps delighted. But suddenly, she realizes that the salt shaker is actually… a pepper shaker! Disaster strikes: Humbert sneezes, the balloon crashes and Beatrice gets soaked before Humbert lands on her head. At once, the music stops and Beatrice has an awkward moment on stage in front of a stunned audience.

She starts to giggle, then chuckle and finally laugh. People in the crowd look at each other and back at Beatrice. Then, they too begin to giggle, then chuckle and finally roar with laughter.

Beatrice and the audience laugh until they can’t remember the reason they were laughing.

From that time and on, Beatrice sleeps better. The next morning she puts non-matching socks on each foot (there goes the Presidency), enjoys a messy breakfast with her brother Carl, and a funny, clumsy, ice-skating session with her friends. She is happy, relaxed and people no longer call her the Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes--just Beatrice.

The pressure is off, and Beatrice becomes a happy, ‘normal’ kid; a kid who enjoys the ride, makes mistakes, learns from them and, most importantly, laughs!


The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes
strengths:

A refreshing story leaving a simple and straightforward message: it’s okay to mess up sometimes; in fact it is normal and, guess what, it’s allowed!

The story is an invaluable lesson for modern parents who put too much pressure on their children to be perfectionists; it is also excellent for kids who follow an exhausting schedule and miss out on the fun of childhood.

A book, dealing with the issue, to-the-point, that doesn't tire the reader with its moral.


Room for improvement:

Pictures are fitting but a bit rough.

Additionally, I like to be able to pick out a memorable line from the story to harken back to, something in this case regarding fear of failure. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one. Overall:

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes is a decent story giving a few words of wisdom to both parents and children.

Read more of Dimitrios's book reviews.

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