I see Beautiful Oops! as an essential piece to any GT teacher's book collection.
Author and Illustrator: Barney Saltzberg
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication Year: 2010
In Beautiful Oops!, Barney Saltzberg takes readers on an adventure of "happy accidents." As the reader unfolds, lifts, or turns the pages,he enters a world where mistakes present a chance for creativity. That torn piece of paper becomes the mouth of an alligator. The bent page becomes a penguin beak. The story sets off to convince readers that mistakes are not the end of the world, but in fact present an opportunity for celebration.
This unusual example of persuasive text presents a strong case against feeling sorry for mistakes. Saltzberg's illustrations and the whimsical design of the book draw readers in and open their minds to the possibilities mistakes present. Despite the fact that Saltzberg uses very few words in this book, the creative examples he provides give solid support to the argument that people should celebrate their mistakes.
"A pleasingly tactile exploration of the possibilities inherent in mistakes. "A torn piece of paper... is just the beginning!" Spills, folded paper, drips of paint, smudges and smears—they "all can make magic appear." An increasingly complex series of scenarios celebrates random accidents, encouraging artistic experimentation rather than discouragement. The folded-over paper can be a penguin's head; a torn piece of newsprint can turn into a smiling dog with a little application of paint; a hot-chocolate stain can become a bog for a frog. Thanks to a telescoping pop-up, a hole is filled with nearly limitless possibilities. The interactive elements work beautifully with the photo-collaged "mistakes," never overwhelming the intent with showiness. Saltzberg's trademark cartoon animals provide a sweetly childlike counterpoint to the artful scribbles and smears of gloppy paint. A festive invitation to creative liberation."
For the gifted child struggling with perfectionism, this book provides an alternative view. Additionally, a goal of many if not most gifted programs remains the development of student creativity. This book holds potential to open doors of possibility for students needing more examples of creativity.
One way to use the book in a gifted classroom is in conjunction with draw starts. After reading and discussing the book, the teacher gives students a paper (or choice between two papers) with 1-2 lines drawn on it. Then, each student looks at the line and determines what picture they could draw that would utilize that line or "mistake."
Author and illustrator, Barney Saltzberg created a site with resources for teachers who want to take the message of Beautiful Oops! to their classrooms everyday. Click here to learn more.