Customer Reviews: The Sweetest Fig
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars54
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on October 25, 2013
Another in the list of Chris Van Allsburg books I've purchased for my 8 year old granddaughter. We absolutely love ALL his books and, especially, the illustrations - this would be our 6th book. There's always a little surprise at the end of his stories. I will be handing these books down to my 4 year old grandson. I highly recommend this book.
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on December 20, 2014
Hmmm... if dreams could come true, some disastrous results may happen. HOWEVER parents beware before reading this book. If your child is scared of the dentist, you may want to give this one a miss. Why? Monsieur Bibot is not a very nice man who will not even let his dog bark! When an old woman comes to visit him at his dental office complaining of toothache we see a picture of the lady in the chair with Bibot having one hand over her eyes and with the other hand holding a pair of pliers to pull her tooth out. Only when he is finished does Bibot offer her some pills for the pain. That offer is soon retracted though when the woman says she has no money but in figs, two very special figs!

From here the story gets a little obscure as we read of Bibot eating one of the figs in the evening and then in the morning we see him walking his dog in his underwear! It is only on the next page that we read about Bibot remembering his previous night's dream. What else did he dream? In order to not "waste" the next fig, over the next few days Bibot reads books on hypnotism and tells himself something in the mirror. His dreams change and he is ready for the second fig. Hah! What happens to the fig? Can you guess?

An unusual story that is OK but not one we will read on a regular basis. You may want to check it out from your library first before purchasing.
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on February 23, 2015
This is another story I use for
my exceptional education reading classes grades 5-8. The twist at the end really delights them and makes them think. Allsburg's tales lend to deep discussions about characters and motive.
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on February 28, 2014
Like all of Chris Van Allsburg's books,The Sweetest Fig asks a basic moral and philosophical question: Is it okay to treat others whom we consider to be "beneath" us with less respect than we treat those whom we want to like us? There are other lessons to be gleaned from this book but this is it's central idea. Older children (8,9,10)can explore the implications of their choices with adult prompts. For example, the adult could ask, "Are there some people we consider "beneath" us?" What traits or conditions in another person would make them "beneath" us?" (ie. their level of wealth, intelligence, ownership of things, age,place where they live, etc.)"What kinds of things do we do or say that would make those people understand that we consider them "below" us?" "What does the word 'respect' mean?" "Is it all right to show respect to some but not to others?" "Do we sometimes disrespect animals too?" "How did the dentist disrespect his dog?" "In your opinion, is that okay?" "What do you think Chris Van Allsburg thinks about respecting animals as well as people?" (All put into kid language, of course.)

I love the way Van Allsburg leaves the reader with both a feeling of satisfaction and yet an uneasiness that perhaps our own motives with others are not always so pure. And I love too, that adults can use his books as vehicles to help a child explore the implications of our behavior and to help a child begin to define his/her own character and personal philosophy, which, of course, is the development of the adult "self."

I am giving this book to my 9 year old great granddaughter who I think is ready to explore some of these questions.
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VINE VOICEon October 18, 2002
What more could you ask for? The Sweetest Fig is the story of French Dentist named Bibot who is given two seemingly ordinary figs as payment for dental services rendered. The old woman who gives Bibot the figs tells him that the figs can "make your dreams come true." As the story progresses, it keeps the audiences attention easily. Most of the classes I have read this to (3rd & 4th Grade) seem to think the results of Bibot's first dream are hilarious and are eager to hear the outcome. The ending is rather abrupt but satisfying where Bibot gets his just rewards. Overall, Van Allsburg does a magnificent job (as always) both authoring and illustrating this intriguing tale. Highly recommended for 3rd and 4th grade students.
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I love Chris Van Allsburg's works, and have read them repeatedly over the years. I decided to share them with my kindergartener, hoping that she would not only delight in the illustrations but also be able to understand the message underlying the stories. Some of Van Allsburg's stories have hidden layers that younger children may be oblivious to, but older children and adults will appreciate.

In "The Sweetest Fig", readers are introduced to Bibot the dentist, a selfish and cruel man who thinks only of himself. His long-suffering dog, Marcel is not even allowed to bark, except on Bastille Day! One day, a poor old woman comes to Bibot's practice and begs him to remove her tooth. However instead of the cash he expects, Bibot is presented with the gift of two figs which the old lady promises are especially unique. Bibot fumes and chases the old lady out of his office, but does eat one of the figs later that evening. The next day, Bibot finds that his dreams of the night before have manifested in reality! It is then that Bibot truly understand the significance of the figs, and left with only one, he schemes to achieve material wealth. Will Bibot attain his dreams? The climax is truly a delight to read and the illustrations enhance the reader's pleasure.

My daughter was able to understand what the story was about, and the idea of the magical figs delighted her. She was very upset at Bibot's treatment of Marcel the dog, and Bibot truly is a most despicable character. As with many of Chris Van Allsburg's other works, this is a thought-provoking, and visually stimulating read.
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on June 21, 2011
A "delightful" book for children and "grown-ups". An air of mystery, vocabulary that doesn't talk down to children, especially beautiful illustrations and. of course, the surprise moral. While reading this to my nine year old, who could certainly have read it himself, I had the opportunity to discuss the occasional French vocabulary and a few other words that needed some meaning enhancement. What fun the book is ; I look forward to reading it with my other grandchildren, 8 and 10, who will enjoy it just as much as their grandmother.The fig tree in my yard that produces such sweet figs is a bonus to the story.
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on January 9, 2014
The book came from a library in NY.... sweet to have those marks in the book. First off this Author is to be cherished. The book was in great condition although it was 2nd hand and I knew this going in. We appreciated the fact it was passed on with love and care. Thank you for keeping this book in it's best condition.
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on May 20, 2004
The Sweetest Fig story takes place in Paris, France. Monsiur Bibot, the coldhearted dentist, helped a patient who had a toothache. After Bibot helped her, all she could pay him with were two magical figs. In disbelief, Bibot took the figs and shoved her out of his office. When Bibot went home, he decided to eat one of the figs as an evening snack. It was the seetest fig Bibot had ever tasted, it just wasn't until the next morning that Monsieur Bibot realized it indeed was so magical that it had the power to make your dreams come true.
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on November 25, 2001
This is great stuff...typical Chris Van Allsburg, filled with wonderful illustrations, sometimes surreal imagery, lots of subtle humour and something important for us to think about. The story shows what happens when one thoughtless, self-involved dentist experiences the "what goes around, comes around" syndrome. The last page causes that pleasurable sensation of the mental pause in the dark before the light-bulb pops on.
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