The Most Magnificent Thing

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From School Library Journal

EMOTIONS; SOLVING PROBLEMS

From Booklist

One day, a young girl who enjoys creating things decides to build something in reality special. So, after drawing diagrams, hiring an assistant (aka her best-pal pooch), and collecting materials, she establishes her sidewalk workshop. But, alas, bringing vision to fruition isn’t easy. Progressively, excitement and confidence wane, motivation turns to meltdown—then to defeat (I’m no good at this. I QUIT!). Happily, some timely dog walking brings clarity, calm, and an inspiration for an imaginative solution that just might work. Fanciful illustrations depict the spindly, cartoonish characters; the girl’s intricate found-object contraptions; and colorful scenarios against black-and-white line drawings of a city-neighborhood setting. Interspersed all-capitalized words enliven the text, though the smaller-sized, spiky font may be more for one-on-one sharing or quite older readers. With witty and whimsical elements (including the dog’s side antics), this supportively portrays the on occasion-frustrating process of translating ideas to reality and shows how a new perspective can help problem solve and rekindle enthusiasm and joy. Grades K-2. –Shelle Rosenfeld

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Award-winning creator 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 is going to look. She knows just how it is going to work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things at all times. Easy-peasy!” But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets in reality, in reality mad. She is so mad, actually, 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, whilst 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 stir 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.