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Great lesson tucked into a fun book
on October 18, 2011
Beatrice Bottomwell is famous in her town, though most people don't have any idea of her real name. She is known simply as "the Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes." Beatrice is ultra careful and methodical and quite enjoys her error free life. Still, solid perfection must be a lot of pressure for a little girl.
When Beatrice arrives at school each morning, she is perfectly put together, with her homework ready to turn in. She has won the Graysville talent show three years in a row with her juggling act, and feels quite confident about adding a fourth year to her name. Beatrice's little brother Carl is not famous, as his typical day includes a whole raft of mistakes. He eats his crayons (non-toxic!) and draws with his green beans.
On the morning of the talent show, something very unusual happens. Beatrice almost makes a mistake. While carrying four eggs from the refrigerator to the counter, she slips on a stray piece of rhubarb and .... airborne eggs! Scrambling, reaching, and grabbing - Beatrice manages to nab all four eggs safely to retain her title of the Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes. No shells were cracked, no yolks were spilled, and yet Beatrice can't help thinking of her close call. Could she make a mistake?
That night at the talent show, Beatrice performs her usual juggling routine. Everyone expects her usual perfection. Instead, there is a mishap that results in the Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes standing on stage, soaking wet, covered in pepper, with a hamster flat on her head. This was her first mistake and it was a big one. Beatrice is shocked, the crowd is stunned.Then Beatrice starts to laugh - a mistake is not the end of the world.
I don't think any real attempt was made to disguise the obvious lesson, which is fine by me. Children need to learn to deal with failure. If they cannot grasp that concept, they will become paralyzed by fear, which will keeping them from trying new activities. After Beatrice's mistake, she starts living more carefree. Taking a page from Carl's book, she acts sillier and consequently has a lot more fun. Of course that is am important lesson for kids to learn. Who better to teach it than Beatrice Bottomwell and her hamster?