Famous Fails: The Greatest Mistakes, Mess Ups, & Mishaps of All Time: This fun book of quirky failures and famous flops will keep kids laughing while they learn the importance of messing up in order to get it right. Science, architecture, technology, entertainment — there are epic fails and hilarious goof-ups from every important field. Silly side features help to analyze the failures: “Lesson Learned,” “It Could be Worse!,” “Losing Combinations,” and a “Fail Scale” to help readers navigate the different kinds and scope of the mistakes made. The stories will include what went wrong, what went right, and what kids can learn from each failed attempt. – Goodreads
Famous Fails Review
Famous Fails has admirable intentions, a lot of information on interesting failures, and many lessons for both kids and adults. The fails range from definitely famous to “never heard of it.” My favorite section was Chapter Two, which dealt with famous fails in history. I had never heard of the unlocked gate of Constantinople. (Or I did and just wasn’t paying attention in history class.) That was absolutely fascinating to read about. My least favorite was the chapter on fashion. Famous Fails stretched a little too far when they ventured into the fashion arena. Carpenter pants and barefoot sneakers can’t really be called Famous Fails when that’s purely dependent on personal opinion. (For the record, I think they’re both fails.)
I like the idea behind Famous Fails probably more than I like the book itself, to be honest. Children need to know that it’s okay to mess up. That failure is an option. And they also need to learn how to take steps to avoid failures that don’t need to be failures, too. Through their tips and tricks sections such as “Lessons Learned”, “It Could Be Worse” and “Triumphant Takeaway”, it does a pretty good job at reinforcing all those things. The way the book is put together means it’s easy to read, and as usual they did a great job with the typography and general design. It’s obvious they know what works when it comes to keeping children’s attention on a book.
Fun Fact: This book was printed just a little bit too early. The Sports Section (chapter 5) starts off talking about how the Chicago Cubs were still struggling to win another world series after winning it twice in a row in the early 1900s. Well, as we all know, this year the Chicago Cubs broke that losing streak.
Unfortunately, the overall impression I got from Famous Fails was not one of success. This book just felt like it tried too hard, and even my easy-to-please mini-reviewer was less than enchanted by the read. National Geographic Kids has produced some amazing kids books in the past, but this one just fell a bit flat for my tastes.