The Most Magnificent Thing
Author: Ashley Spires
Published April 1, 2014 by Kids Can Press
Goodreads Summary: 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.
My Review: Ashley Spires did an amazing job with this book. Her illustrations seem so simple, but really there is so much detail in each one. Amazing digital art. Also, Girl is a character after my own heart as a mom and a teacher. We need more kids like her. Kids who explore, invent, play outside, imagine, etc. I hope my son is like her.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The summary says a lot for me. This is a book that promotes innovation, imagination, perseverance, and experimenting. All things that are so important for kids to have and too often they are not nurtured. Innovation: Girl wants to make something new and magnificent. Imagination: Some of the odd items she makes actually do have a purpose, you just have to use your imagination. Perseverance: Girl almost gives up, but begins to realize that what she made may be exactly what she wanted to make in the first place. Experimenting: She tries to make so many different things for a variety of purposes. All of these themes could be discussed while reading the book with kids. The book also has amazing vocabulary, many of which are shared in the summary. A great way to discuss synonyms, descriptive language, and imagery.
Discussion Questions: Why did the girl never give up?; What are some of the words that the author uses to help you “see” and “hear” what the girl is doing?; Which of her inventions was your favorite? And what other ways could you use some of them?; Girl plans out her invention. What steps did she take to plan? What else could she have done?
We Flagged: “This is a regular girl and her best friend in the whole wide world. They do all kinds of things together. They race. They eat. They explore. They relax. She makes things. He unmakes things. One day, the girl has a wonderful idea. She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing!” (p. 6-7)
Fun With The Author:
Read This If You Loved: The Invisible Boy by Tracy Ludwig, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock, Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers, Matilda by Roald Dahl, Journey by Aaron Becker
**Thank you to Kids Can Press and Netgalley for providing a copy for review**