Book Reviews

Book Review: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Book, Children’s Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Recommend to Others?: Maybe Yes


Summary (via Goodreads):
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:
Not exactly what I expected. The use of present progressive to tell the story was jarring for much of it. But all the verbs and adjectives used to describe the main character’s actions I think will be really beneficial for child readers to learn. I also liked how the author lays out the illustration on and across the pages – that’s always a fascinating part of picture books. I kind of wish the main character had a name but I get that the focus was on the magnificent thing she was trying to build. The biggest win for me for this book was the main character’s determination and ingenuity. She kept trying again and again to achieve her goal even when things seemed hopeless – that is an important lesson kids should learn.

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