A Whale of a Mistake – Perfect Picture Book Friday

None of us worry about making mistakes, right? Right. Well, just in case you do, take a look at this lovely book.

The first illustration is up close and personal:

Text/Illustration ©️Ioana Hobai

The text addresses the reader directly:

Text/Illustration ©️Ioana Hobai

Oh, no! What did I do? How could I have done something so silly? So stupid?

Did anyone notice? What will this do to my social status? Everyone is going to remember my mistake


Text/Illustration ©️Ioana Hobai

You worry.

The more you worry,

the more it grows,

until it weighs you down.

And then…

[page turn]

It swallows you whole!

(The specter of the great white whale in a picture book!)

Yes, some people do notice.

You can’t shake that mistake!

That mistake takes you places you’re afraid to go. And you’re swept along in its current.

You’re afraid of where you’ll end up, but when you open your eyes, all you see is stars.

Those perfect stars.

Or are they?

I’m keeping this book on my shelf to remind my fragile self that the world is filled with mistakes, a whole universe of mistakes out there, many of them gloriously beautiful.

And when I’m tempted to let my mistakes control me, I’ll just stop and think about what I want to do with them, let them take me unexpected places, or fix them. By taking that step back, that time to think and adjust my approach, that time to learn and grow, I’ll be waving good-bye to the power they have over me. And my brain will thank me by growing. Yay!

This beautifully illustrated book, filled with a range of pastel shades, feels like it’s all happening in the subconscious or in a dream, one that seeks to reassure the reader that making mistakes is okay. It’s how we respond and what we do with them the next time and the next time and the next that matters.


Pair this book with either of these: The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken or The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires.

Take a drawing that you’ve thrown away because it’s “a mistake,” and turn it into a picture that’s completely different from what you’d planned to do originally.

Watch these videos about making mistakes:

Small Talk

Class Dojo Growth Mindset video 1

Class Dojo Making Mistakes video 2 (You’ll find five videos in the Growth Mindset series on Youtube.)

Title: A Whale of a Mistake

Author/Illustrator: Ioana Hobai

Publisher: Page Street Kids, 2020

Ages: Pre-K to 5th grade

Themes: making mistakes, self esteem

For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s blog.

9 thoughts on “A Whale of a Mistake – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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