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The Most Magnificent Thing

Spires, Ashley (Book - 2014 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Most Magnificent Thing
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Univ of Toronto Pr
A little girl and her canine assistant set out to make the most magnificent thing. But after much hard work, the end result is not what the girl had in mind. Frustrated, she quits. Her assistant suggests a long walk, and as they walk, it slowly becomes clear what the girl needs to do to succeed. A charming story that will give kids the most magnificent thing: perspective!
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.

Baker & Taylor
A little girl and her canine assistant set out to make the most magnificent thing, but despite their hard work, the end result is not what the girl had envisioned and she must develop a new strategy for success.

Baker
& Taylor

A little girl and her canine assistant set out to make the most magnificent thing, however despite their hard work, the end result is not what the girl had envisioned, but a long walk soon clears her mind and yields a fresh perspective about what needs to be done to succeed.

Authors: Spires, Ashley, 1978-
Title: The most magnificent thing
Publisher: Toronto :, Kids Can Press,, 2014
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) color illustrations 24 cm
Contents: 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
ISBN: 9781554537044
1554537045
Branch Call Number: E SPIRE
MARC Display»

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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.

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.

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.

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

The Most Magnificent Thing Book Hack with Ashley Spires

Watch author-illustrator and maker Ashley Spires hack her own book, The Most Magnificent Thing.

Find it at GL

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