The Biggest Mistake – Camilla Pintonato

The Biggest Mistake by Camilla Pintonato
Published by Eerdmans on August 15, 2023
Genres: Children's
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A perfect storytime pick about success, failure, and the danger of assumptions.

“It’s time to catch your own gazelle,” Papa Lion tells his little lion one morning. The cub thinks the task will be easy—which is his first mistake. He leaps on a gazelle, but it gets away from him. So the little lion laces up his sneakers, thinking he just has to outrun the gazelle—and makes his second mistake. Once again, his prey escapes! So the little lion tries to lure the gazelle into a trap. He tries to snag its horns in a net. He even tries asking nicely. But every idea fails. Maybe the little lion needs the gazelle to make a mistake of her own…

This tongue-in-cheek tale offers a new delight on each page, then ends with the biggest surprise of all. With madcap action and colorful artwork, The Biggest Mistake is sure to spark giggles from readers of all ages.

Bold lines, simple illustrations, and a twist you won’t see coming, The Biggest Mistake is a playful story of perseverance that you’ll want to revisit again and again. The plot of the book goes like this: Little lion has to catch a gazelle on his own. He’s very certain he can, but the gazelle is just too fast! Too smart! (But also, just a bit cocky…) It all leads to one inevitable conclusion.

Camilla Pintonato utilizes big and bold lines with simple backgrounds, focusing the reader on the expressions and movements of the characters. It’s amazing what can be conveyed just by the look in the characters’ eyes. There’s a look of exasperation in the book that I’m particularly fond of. It’s a clever story with illustrations to match that’s sure to draw readers in and keep their attention.

It’s also worth mentioning that, like many Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers, this is a book that’s been translated into English. In this case, from Italian by translator Debbie Bibo. Some translated books have difficulty retaining the book’s flow or tone. Not so here. The word choices are natural and fit the book very well.

Overall, The Biggest Mistake is just a fun book. It cracked me up when I read it. It made my kids laugh. It made my wife laugh. A little silly, a little snarky, and every page engaging, The Biggest Mistake is a winner.