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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Most Magnificent Thing

The Most Magnificent Thing
by Ashley Spires
published by Kids Can Press

The Blurb

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 Two Cents

I have heard so much hype about this book.  Seriously.  So. Much.  Sometimes, that puts me off--I start thinking in terms of "opiate of the masses" and all that jazz.  Despite my crazy thoughts, I picked this book up and gave it a quick read, expecting to not be wowed.  But I totally liked it.  This little girl represents the lengths we will go to when something MUST work.  I don't want to give anything away, but I love her motivation for the "most magnificent thing" and I love how hard she works to make it happen!

About the Author

I knew I liked Ashley Spires when I read this:  "The artwork in this book was rendered digitally with lots of practice, two hissy fits and one all -out tantrum."  But when I read this little tidbit on her bio at Kids Can Press, I thought maybe we should be BFF's:  "Delighted that there was, in fact, a career that allowed her to remain in her pajamas, hang out with her cats and be productive at the same time, illustration is the perfect job for her." You can learn more about Ashley HERE. And you should probably go ahead and follow her on Twitter as well...I expect to see many more fun books coming from this talented author and illustrator!