Book Review: Beautiful Oops

Beautiful Oops, by Barney Saltzberg

I happened to read this book somewhat by accident.  In early October, when I was visiting my CASA kiddo, this happened to be one of the books in the toy chest, and so I read it aloud to the adorable but easily distracted baby, who found certain sheets of the book, especially the transparency but also the accordion box, of particular interest and found the book as a whole at least interesting enough to idly flip the pages as we read, which speaks well of her future should she decide that books are of interest to her to read and not only to play with.  Still, liking books at such a young age in any way is a good start, and as is often the case with good children’s literature [1], the book has a lot of depth and meaning well beyond its rather simple words and pictures, and the point is one that is sufficiently worthwhile that the book should be seriously examined and not taken for granted simply because small children are so wonderful at making mistakes and so proficient at learning through trial and error, mostly error.

The contents of this book are both simple and beautiful.  Each page shows through some dynamic means, like folds or cutouts, a way that a mistake is turned into something beautiful.  Spills are transformed into beautiful animal shapes, marks on paper are turned into a drawing of a penguin, holes in a paper are turned into an accordion box, and on and on it goes.  It is little wonder why even small children would appreciate such a book, given the way that the book is composed of many layers that fold or pull apart, all of which are things that fascinate children more than, say, the more mundane textual material of most books.  My CASA kiddo, for example, loves my notebook that I use to record our monthly meetings and my other CASA business so she can rip up and tear up the pages, so when I allow her to do this I make sure she does not mess up any pages that I am actually writing on.  Nevertheless, this is an intensely practical book, and not only for dealing with small children.  We are all prone to making mistakes, and it is a worthwhile survival skill in general to know how to turn mistakes into something beautiful, so that we do not despair of happiness or beauty coming out of messy lives.

And when we think of the task that God has in forming beauty from ashes, in redeeming the years of the locust, and in making all things work together for the good, a great deal of his task in our lives is precisely making beautiful oops as the title so charmingly says.  Indeed, much of what we consider divine providence is precisely that task, in making sure that no matter what happens in our lives turns into something beautiful and worthwhile, even if it is often painful and messy.  Yet it takes work, and a good deal of patience, and an eye for beauty.  Not all of us have these or use these particular tendencies in our own lives, and seeing a mess in our lives, we are often at a loss as to how this mess will ever be redeemed.  Fortunately, in our own lives we have someone like the author of this book, who delights in turning errors and blunders into beauty, if we will only let Him.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Christianity and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Book Review: Beautiful Oops

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