cover image The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein, illus. by Pett. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4022-5544-1

In their children’s book debut, Rubinstein and cartoonist Pett (the Lucky Cow comic strip) introduce Beatrice, a guarded elementary schooler who has yet to make a mistake, earning her town-wide fame. Leaving the house for school, Beatrice is swarmed by fans: “They asked if she made her bed. She had. They asked if she forgot to do her math homework. Nope.” In cooking class, though, she almost drops some eggs, and this “Almost Mistake” troubles her, especially with the talent show that evening. Though the title might suggest a pompous, know-it-all heroine, Beatrice is anything but; she never set out to achieve perfection, instead falling into a role, the pressures of which clearly weigh on her. In Pett’s energetic ink-and-watercolor cartoons, which vary full-page scenes with inset panels, Beatrice comes across as introspective and lonely. Her comical on-stage juggling gaffe at the talent show is the tide-turning moment, after which Beatrice allows herself to mess up—and to have fun doing so. The book’s message is unmistakable (so to speak), paired with a subtler reminder of how easy it is to have one’s confidence shaken. Ages 4–up. (Nov.)