|Digital List Price:||$5.99|
|Print List Price:||$16.95|
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Most Magnificent Thing, The Kindle Edition
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|Length: 32 pages||Age Level: 3 - 7||Grade Level: P - 2|
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
I think perhaps the main reason we don’t see a lot of books about kids trying and failing is that this sort of plot doesn’t make for a natural picture book. I won’t point any fingers, but the usual plot about success follows this format: Hero tries. Hero fails. Hero tries. Hero fails. Hero tries. Hero succeeds. Now hero is an instant pro. You see the problem. I’ve seen this plotline used on everything from learning to ride a bike to playing an instrument. And what Spires has done here that’s so marvelous is show that there’s a value in failure. A value that won’t yield success unless you go over your notes, rethink what you’ve already thought, reexamine the problem, and try it from another angle. In this book the failure is continual and incredibly frustrating. The girl actually has quite a bit of chutzpah, since she completes at least eleven mistakes before finally hitting on a solution. Useful bits and pieces are culled, but it’s also worth noting that the inventions left behind, while they don’t do her much good, are claimed by other people with other ideas. It sort of reinforces the notion that even as you work towards your own goals, your process might be useful to other people, whether or not you recognize that fact at the time.
Spires doesn’t cheat either. Our unnamed heroine idea is actually clear cut about what she wants to make from the start. On the page where it reads, “One day, the girl has a wonderful idea. She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing” you can see her on her scooter explaining her idea to her now thoroughly exhausted pup. It’s only on the last page that we learn that the thing in question was to be a pug-sized sidecar for the aforementioned scooter.
Now Ms. Spires is no newbie to the world of children’s literature. If you have not seen her Binky the Space Cat graphic novel series for kids, it is about time you hied thee hence and found those puppies. In them, you will discover that not only is she remarkably good at the subtle visual gag, but that her writing is just tiptop. Some of the choices she made for this book were fascinating to me. It’s written in the present tense. Neither the girl nor the dog has a name. At the same time it’s incredibly approachable. I love how Spires relates the girl’s travails. The final solution is also all the better because even with her success it’s not perfectly perfect. “It 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!” Perfection can be a terrible thing to strive for. Sometimes, just getting it right can be enough.
And yes, I have to mention it at some point: It’s about a scientifically minded girl character. Now you might feel like this ain’t no big a thing, but let me assure you that when I was wracking my brain to come up with readalikes for this title, I came up nearly empty. Picture books where girls are into nature science? Commonplace. But books where girls are into math or invention? Much more difficult. There are a couple exception to the rule (“Violet the Pilot” by Steve Breen, “Rosie Revere, Engineer” by Andrea Beaty, and “Oh No! Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World” by Mac Barnett come to mind) but by and large they are rare. Yet if this had been a book where the whole point was something along the lines of even-girls-can-love-science I would have loathed it. The joy of “The Most Magnificent Thing” is that the girl’s goal is the focus, not the girl herself. Her love of tinkering is just natural. A fact of life. As well it should be.
On the back bookflap for this book we are able to discover the following information about Ms. Spires: “Ashley has always loved to make things and she knows the it-turned-out-wrong frustration well! All of her books have at one point or another made her cry, scream and tear her hair out as she tried to get them JUST RIGHT.” 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.
For ages 3-7.
other people will follow their dreams just like her and her family🐈😁
Love Gracie mauck PS always follow your heart
I'm only 11 I love this book I incorge other people to follow their own dreams and meet there goals just like me I know that you can follow your heart and your mind so go for it this woman did something incredible so can you just put your mind to it!
Love Gracie mauck 😘😇
Child-friendly language and charming illustrations are a perfect combination in this story of hope, perseverance, and hard work as a little girl endeavors to create the most magnificent thing. She fails more than once, even becoming so frustrated that she gives up. But determination wins the day when she takes a look at all her "failures" and discovers each has an element that is just right.
The type is too small. It's one of those that you have to swipe to enlarge every single sentence for reading . For the age that it is written that's still too small (again because there are basically two pages on each screen).
The story is very good until the end. It's interesting and imaginative and a good example of how the creative mind works...until the end. As an artist I REALLY don't like that her final creation is something that already exists. That is not how the creative mind works. It's not a lesson I want to pass on to my grandkids. We create together and I want to instill a love of investigation, imagination, innovation, and invention; not that it's okay to get mad and frustrated trying to recreate someone else's magnificent idea.
I give two stars for the pictures and idea ( until the end).
If it were a magnificent finished creation I'd give it five stars.
I do NOT recommend the kindle version of this book. It's a decision I will consider more carefully in the future. For now I'll just delete it. I don't want my grandkids reading it.
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