Saturday, June 6, 2015

Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg - Good Times With Goof-Ups

Pros: A fun interactive book with plenty of silliness
Cons: Needs a companion book!

The Bottom Line: Get kids' imaginations and creative minds going with this little nugget of joy.

Usually I’m not impressed with pop-up books. Sure, they look nifty, and I can appreciate the effort that’s gone into making them (I sure can’t do it!), but the more elaborate they are, the more prone to damage they can be. You look through them, admire them, and then move on. Other books similar to pop-ups, like lift-the-flap books, are more fun because kids are encouraged to pull things, push things, lift flaps, twist circles, and more. Interactive books are more fun.

Beautiful Oops is by Barney Saltzberg, the same author of Peekaboo Kisses. It’s a different sort of interactive pop-up type book. Instead of teaching kids about animals or telling stories, it inspires them to use their imaginations even when goof-ups happen. It’s kind of like the children’s version of Wreck This Journal.

Inside, there are flaps to lift and little things to peek at. The idea in this book is that little moments of “Oops!” can still be turned into something nifty. A torn piece of paper. Spilled paint. A crumpled paper ball. Even a coffee stain from a mug can become something else. All of them are transformed into something else – elephants, alligators, and more. These goof-ups can be turned into works of art – or just some silly scribbles. Kids are encouraged to use their imaginations and see beyond the oops itself. Sort of like how we spot shapes in clouds. The text in the book points all these things out.

I think my favorite thing about this book is the color. It’s a bright, colorful book with all sorts of mixes and mediums. It’s a small party in a book, and my other favorite part is the stretch out spiral that you pull out of the book and then put your eye to in order to look down. It’s a really nifty effect, and there’s a bit of text down in the center to read. There are plenty of colors and patterns that dance their way down the spiral as well.

The book is rather small in size, but that’s good because for young children that makes it easier to handle as opposed to some of the massive pop-ups on the shelves. I think it’s compact size may also help it to last a little bit longer in kids’ hands (but if they’re keen on pulling out the spiral or tearing off the flaps, then it really doesn’t matter what it’s size is).

The only way I think this could be even better is if there were some kind of companion book to go with it. While that’s not really necessary (what with the current number of activity books out there), I think it would be fun for kids to have an empty book where they were encouraged to let some kind of oops happen and then make something of it. As it stands right now, the best you could do is snap up something by Keri Smith.

Still, it’s a fun little book and definitely worth taking a look at the next time you’re in the bookstore and thinking of buying something cute for your child.


Originally posted on

Notes from the playlist: "Upright Piano" by Without Directive

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