Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 3 to 7
- Grade: p to 2
- Reading age: 3 to 7
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.
About the author
Ashley Spires est diplômé de l'Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design. Artiste touche à tout, elle a créé des sites Internet, des livres et des marionnettes. Elle est auteure et illustratrice de plusieurs livres dont Quel génie!, la série Basile le chat de l'espace,Petit Paul, Chien recherche garçon et André est débordé. Ashley a également illustré Le Labo des malins par Shar Levine et Leslie Johnstone. Elle vit à Delta, en Colombie-Britannique.
Ashley Spires earned her BFA at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and went on to earn a graduate diploma in illustration from Sheridan College. She is also the illustrator of Binky the Space Cat. Ashley lives in British Columbia, but you can find her at www.ashleyspires.com.
- Short-listed, Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award Jr. List, Florida Association for Media in Education
- Short-listed, Blue Spruce, Forest of Reading
- Short-listed, Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize, West Coast Book Prize Society
- Winner, ALA Notables Children's Book List, Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)
- Winner, CCBC Choices , Cooperative Children's Book Center
- Short-listed, Chocolate Lily Book Award, Picture Book Category
- Short-listed, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards , Ontario Arts Council
- Short-listed, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award, Canadian Library Association
- Commended, Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children List, Recommended Book, NCTE
- Short-listed, Morning Calm Medal, Korea International Schools
- Winner, Top 2014 Mighty Girl Books For Younger Readers, A Mighty Girl
- Short-listed, Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award , IBBY-Canada
- Winner, 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2014, New York Public Library
The Most Magnificent Thing is a wonderful fable about effort and reward, in a tone perfectly understandable to younger children. A definite addition to public and primary school collections.
An entertaining book for the very young, this is also a useful reminder that most problems can be worked out if we give it time. Spires's digital artwork does a masterful job of injecting humour.
The Montreal Gazette
Spires' understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle characterization for maximum delight.
Kirkus Reviews - Starred Review
A little girl has big plans to make the most magnificent thing, with the help of her canine sidekick.
The Most Magnificent Thing captures the ups and downs of the creative process perfectly ... with honesty and even a little elegance.
Globe and Mail
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.
Elizabeth Bird, SLJ.com
Without being heavy-handed, the author has shown how perseverance, determination, vision, and dealing with your emotions can pay off. Illustrations add charm to the story ... This is a good read-aloud.
Library Media Connection
This indefatigable little girl won't let frustration get in the way of creating her magnificent contraption. Determination is key!
Young readers will love the surprise ending. Readers learn that not everything comes out “just the right way” instantly.
International Reading Association
This is a solid choice with a great message that encourages kids not to quit in the face of disappointment but rather to change their perspective and start over.
School Library Journal
It's a useful description of the creative process, an affirmation of making rather than buying, and a model for girl engineers.
... Spires's buddy tale of overcoming obstacles and learning to manage expectations will likely find an appreciative audience, especially in a classroom setting.
Quill & Quire
Other titles by Ashley Spires
Most Magnificent Idea, The
La fée scientifique : Solide, liquide, gazeux
Burt the Beetle Doesn't Bite!
Solid, Liquid, Gassy (A Fairy Science Story)
Le Canada, c'est moi
I Am Canada: A Celebration
La fée scientifique
The Story of "O Canada"