The Best Mistake Ever! And Other Stories: Richard Scarry

Books Worth Reading

November 13, 2018

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Three simple stories about best friends and silly mistakes perfect for new readers.

Reading Level: Age 6-10, or 3 and up as a read aloud book.

Length: 48 pages.

About the Author: Richard Scarry is a beloved children’s book author and illustrator, who published over 300 books and is best known for his books about Busytown and the animals that live there. Scarry was born in 1919 and attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston until he was drafted to serve in World War II. He began publishing books in 1949 and his works were made into several TV series in the 1980s and 1990s. His books have sold over 100 million copies and have been translated into over a dozen languages.

Here’s why kids might like this book:
The Best Mistake Ever contains three easy to read stories about two best friends, Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm, whose silly mistakes work out for the best. In the first story, Huckle is excited that his mother trusted him to go to the grocery store all by himself, but he forgot the list she gave him and must decide what to get with Lowly’s help. In the second story, Huckle visits Mr. Fix-It when he needs to repair his bike bell and the cuckoo clock he got for Mother’s Day, but a mix up leads to unexpected results. In the final story, Huckle can’t wait to celebrate his birthday with Lowly, but a misunderstanding between the friends makes Huckle confused and sad until he realizes Lowly is trying to surprise him with a birthday party!

What makes this book worth reading?
This is an ideal book for early independent readers with short, simple sentences, amusing plots, and interesting characters. In each of these stories, Huckle makes a mistake or faces a challenge and has to take responsibility for his actions and figure out how to fix the problem. These plots will resonate with young children, balancing their desire for independence with the comfort of knowing that someone (a parent, a teacher, a friend) is there to help when they run into trouble.

One caveat for parents — in the final story, Lowly completely ignores Huckle on his birthday and whispers to others behind his back and Huckle is (rightly) sad and confused. Then Lowly surprises Huckle with a birthday party at school and talks to him again. Huckle admits to Lowly that he was scared Lowly wasn’t his best friend anymore, and Lowly assures him they’ll always be best friends. When I read this book with my 4 year old son, he was confused as to why Lowly was mean to Huckle, even if he did have a nice surprise for him. We talked about how it’s not nice to ignore a friend for any reason and that Lowly should have handled the situation better.

A few ways to discuss this book with your child:

  • Why does Mother Cat tell Huckle Cat that his shopping was the “best mistake ever?”
  • Does Mr. Fix-It fix Huckle’s cuckoo clock and bike bell? Does Huckle’s mother appreciate her unique gift? What makes it unique?
  • Why does Lowly’s treatment of Huckle make him sad in the last story? Why is Lowly treating Huckle that way? Has a friend ever ignored you? How did that make you feel?

If you liked this book, look into more titles by Richard Scarry. Cars and Trucks and Things That Go and Best Word Book Ever are wonderful for younger children, while other Step Into Reading books like Be Careful, Mr. Frumble and Smokey the Fireman are great for independent readers.

Publication Details: New York: Random House Books for Young Readers, 1984.

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