Regina's Big Mistake | A Best Picture Book Review
Do you have a young child who lets perfectionism stifle her efforts? You need to get this book!
Regina's Big Mistake
Good for helping perfectionists but also a good book for any child!
Regina's Big Mistake holds a special place in my heart, as the book that helped my daughter learn to deal with her inborn trait of perfectionism. Especially helpful to me was the fact that Regina's frustrations in the book center on her imperfect efforts to draw, since I knew that my daughter had a considerable artistic talent that she was unable to express because she would become so frustrated when her efforts did not match the picture in her head.
Despite the fact that this is a "lesson" book, it is also a good picture book apart from the message. That is important to me, as it is a personal rule of my own never to sacrifice the quality of the story just because it happens to have a "worthy" message.
Regina's Big Mistake
|Regina's Big Mistake (Sandpiper paperbacks)|
Regina's Big Mistake is a fairly straightforward story that will resonate with most children, but most especially with perfectionists who strive to be perfect and are frustrated enough to give up when their efforts do not match their expectations.
The teacher, Mrs. Li, passes out paper to the children to draw a jungle scene. When Regina makes a mistake and tears the paper, she gets one more sheet but is told to "draw around it next time; you're wasting paper." She's so afraid to make a mistake she starts to copy from the children around her, but makes hers slightly different when they complain to her that she is copying. Almost done with her drawing and pleased with it, she gives it a final touch - and makes a big mistake. Can she turn the mistake into a positive piece of her artwork? Finally she sees a solution and is able to make her drawing work.
The slightly soft-focus illustrations are soothing and comfortable with a sketchy look, as if mimicking a typical child's drawing, appropriate for a story about children drawing.
The protagonist of the book, Regina, is a child of African-American descent. Her classmates are a wide mix of races, and the teacher, Mrs. Li, is of Asian descent.
Is my child still a perfectionist? Well, yes, she is. My interest in this book was never to "cure" her, as her perfectionism is simply a trait she was born with. She is now a gifted artist, and I believe that the type of perfectionism she deals with is frequently called the "artistic temperament."
But this book, along with one other titled Christina Katerina and the Box, did do exactly what I needed. Though very different in approach (Christian Katerina adapts instantly to any new circumstance), they were my curriculum to help her to learn to look beyond the "mistake" that didn't appear exactly the way she had wanted it to appear, and work with what is in front of her. Of course, the better she learned that lesson, and the more she drew, the more her attempts did, in fact, look just like what she saw in her head.
In no way is the application of this book limited to perfectionists or to perfectionistic artists! Most children will feel as frustrated as Regina at some point, and it is a simple matter to help them transfer what they learn from Regina to whatever area they are attempting to master.