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The Most Magnificent Thing

Spires, Ashley

Book - 2014
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Most Magnificent Thing
A little girl has a wonderful idea. With the help of her canine assistant, she is going to make the most magnificent thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. But making the most magnificent thing turns out to be harder than she thinks.

Publisher: Toronto :, Kids Can Press,, 2014
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 1554537045
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged),color illustrations,24 cm


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Nov 08, 2014
  • mmcbeth29 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

In The Most Magnificent Thing, a young perfectionist sets out to make something magnificent. We have no idea what she is trying to make, but we see she is having difficulty making all the parts into exactly what she wants. She gets frustrated and mad. She gives up. The dog suggests a walk, which is exactly what she needed to calm down and go back to work. In the end she makes something magnificent even if it isn't perfect.

I loved the rich vocabulary of this story. The girl adjusts, examines, tweaks, fastens, studies, measures, etc. With a simple story, the author introduces so much to the young reader. And the story gives a wonderful moral. When things are not measuring up, step back and take a break. Then try again. And in the end, accepting something less than perfect is okay. The girl and her dog still perfectly enjoy the magnificent thing even if it still needed a bit of work.

The illustrations are simple but colorful and detailed. The style is perfect for this story.

Oct 08, 2014

“Quirky”, “engaging” and “funny” are words which accurately describe British Columbia-based author-illustrator Ashley Spires’ latest children’s picture book – a book which celebrates both creativity and perseverance.

A little girl (who is not given a name in the story) is determined to build “the most magnificent thing”. She knows exactly what it will be and how it will work. It is certain to be awesome!

With the help of her dog, who is also her best friend, she sets to work with a plethora of junkyard materials.

To her dismay, she discovers that making a magnificent thing is not “easy-peasy”. Her first result is very disappointing, and she tosses the invention aside. Her second result is also disappointing.

The little girl works hard, trying again and again, with her dog helpfully chasing away the squirrels. Each time, the outcome is dismal. Eventually she becomes frustrated and quits.

However, her canine companion knows the perfect way for her to calm down, and they take a walk together.

Upon returning, she tries again, and at last she is happy with her new contraption. (However, the reader can decide if it can truly be described as “magnificent”!)

Author Ashley Spires dedicates her book to “all the little perfectionists of the world”.

** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years.

Sep 16, 2014
  • kimrae rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A cute story that takes the reader through normal feelings when something doesn't work the first time. The illustrations are lovely.

Jul 18, 2014
  • forbesrachel rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Making the most magnificent thing ever isn't easy, even for a girl as confident and creative as this one. She and her dog tinker and tinker with the thing all day, building different configurations until she becomes so mad from disappointment, that she stops. After stepping back to calm down, she is once again able to envision what she wants, and finally creates it. The little girl and dog do a lot of things within this short space, and Spires lists many activities and descriptions. Images are separated by alternating between white and light blue backgrounds. Characters are all colourful, and the little girl in particular is very expressive. While the dog plays little part in the actual story, it is worth observing his actions because he does some silly and cute things. True to form, and a funny point, is that people see a purpose for many of the girl's failed projects. There is a lot of failure and frustration in experimentation, but the most important thing is to keep trying, and maybe you too can create the most magnificent thing.

Jun 19, 2014

I agree a great story, i really like the dog

Jun 18, 2014
  • BearCub12 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

A good story about trying new things and not giving up.

Jun 13, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
When a girl and her dog set out to invent a "magnificent thing" they learn the hard way that sometimes trial and error is the only way to get what you want.
- Betsy Bird

May 15, 2014
  • ksoles rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

An unnamed girl and her dog do everything together: play, explore the streets and invent. When the girl one day gets inspired to make "the most MAGNIFICENT thing," she and her dog draw up plans, gather supplies and begin work. Except, it soon becomes clear that their project has gone ALL wrong so they toss it and try again...and again... Frustration soon turns to anger but, when the girl considers giving up, she and her dog choose to take a walk instead. Upon their return, they realize that each previous attempt yielded something positive; by putting those positives together, they ultimately create something different than their original vision, but magnificent just the same.

Ashley Spires accomplishes a marvellous feat in her book: she proves that failure has value. Her protagonist doesn't experience success until the girl goes over her notes, rethinks what she's already thought, reexamines the problem, and tries it from another angle. She makes at least eleven mistakes before experiencing satisfaction, culling bits and pieces that other people with different ideas eventually claim. Spires' simple but charming, industrial-style drawings effectively illustrate the girl's process without overwhelming the text.

Uniquely, Spires writes in the present tense and makes her narrative incredibly approachable. Her conclusion even shows that success does not equal perfection. The girl's final invention "leans a little to the left, and it’s a bit heavier than expected. The color could use a bit of work, too. But it’s just what she wanted!” In the end, "The Most Magnificent Thing" teaches that perfection is a myth. Banged up, beat up, good enough can sometimes provide the best solution to a problem. An invaluable lesson for children everywhere.

Apr 28, 2014
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I guess that children’s authors really are the finest authorities on trial and error. They know frustration. They know rejected drafts. They know how much work it takes to get a book just right. And when all the right elements come together at last? Then you get a book like The Most Magnificent Thing. I don’t know how long it took Ms. Spires to write and illustrate this. All I know is that it was worth it. In the end, it’s precisely the kind of book we need for kids these days. Perfection is a myth. Banged up, beat up, good enough can sometimes be the best possible solution to a problem. A lesson for the 21st century children everywhere.


Add Age Suitability

Oct 08, 2014

SPL_Childrens thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 4 and 7

Apr 28, 2014
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 3 and 7


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Apr 28, 2014
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A girl and her dog are best friends. They do everything together from exploring to racing to making things. So when the girl has an idea one day for “the most MAGNIFICENT thing” that they can make together, the dog has no objection. Plans are drawn up, supplies gathered, and the work begins. And everything seems to be fine until it becomes infinitely clear that the thing she has made? It’s all wrong! Not a problem. She tosses it and tries again. And again. And again. Soon frustration turns to anger and anger into a whopping great temper tantrum. Just when the girl is on the brink of giving up, her doggie partner in crime suggests a walk. And when they return they realize that even if they haven’t gotten everything right yet, the previous attempts did a right thing here or a right thing there. And when you put those parts together what you’ll have might not be exactly like it was up in your brain, but it’ll be a truly magnificent thing just the same.


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Apr 28, 2014
  • ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“One day, the girl has a wonderful idea. She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing.”


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app13 Version ofelia Last updated 2015/03/23 12:01