Picture Book Reivew: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires


The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

Age Range: 3 – 7 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 2

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Kids Can Press (April 1, 2014)

Series: None

Genre: Picture book

Source: I received a digital galley from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the Book:

Award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right. For the early grades’ exploration of character education, this funny book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity. The girl’s frustration and anger are vividly depicted in the detailed art, and the story offers good options for dealing honestly with these feelings, while at the same time reassuring children that it’s okay to make mistakes. The clever use of verbs in groups of threes is both fun and functional, offering opportunities for wonderful vocabulary enrichment. The girl doesn’t just “make” her magnificent thing — she “tinkers and hammers and measures,” she “smoothes and wrenches and fiddles,” she “twists and tweaks and fastens.” These precise action words are likely to fire up the imaginations of youngsters eager to create their own inventions and is a great tie-in to learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Book Trailer:

My Thoughts:

There isn’t a thing about this book that I don’t love. The illustrations are fantastic. Ashley Spires has the kind of style that I am drawn to. The illustrations are unique, stylized, and very very cute. My kids especially liked the dog.

This is precisely the kind of book that I like reading to my kids. It has a great message of “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”.  The little girl (she doesn’t have a name—she goes by “little girl”) decides that she wants to build something magnificent. She gives it a go, but it doesn’t work out. She tries again, and again, and again.  Nothing works. She finally gets frustrated with her efforts and loses her temper. She takes a walk to cool off and when she comes back to her project, she notices the things she did right in each of her attempts. She uses this new knowledge to complete her magnificent idea.

The little girl shows determination, perseverance, and hard work. She is a good example of striving hard for what you want, and never going down without a fight. I love that her invention didn’t work out the first time. Things rarely do. I love that she works on it until she does get it right. It’s a wonderful message for kids (and adults, too).  This is definitely an author/illustrator to keep your eye on.


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