The Most Magnificent Thing
Author/Illustrator: Ashley Spires
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: April 2014
Lexile Level: 380L
The Most Magnificent Thing is about a girl and her dog as they do things together. The recommended age range is 3-7 years and the grade level is listed as preschool to 2nd grade.
We meet a regular girl and her best friend, her dog. They do all sorts of things together. And she loves to make things. So one day she has an idea for the “most MAGNIFICENT thing” and sets out to make it.
The book follows her multiple attempts to make her dream a reality. Her frustration grows as things keep going wrong. She quits, takes her best friend for a walk, and finally realizes that while her previous attempts were mistakes, there were things about them that worked. She sets off to try again, taking her previous knowledge and finally making it work.
This simple, good-hearted story is quite excellent. It provides a straight-forward message that is positive for children. It acknowledges the difficulty in turning one’s idea into reality, and how sometimes we just want to give up and quit. It also provides a solution to this frustration: stepping away, calming down, and allowing oneself time to think.
The illustrations are cute, with a simple color pallet and clean backgrounds. They supplement the story, but a child unable to see the illustrations would still be able to understand what’s happening (though the reader would need to specify that the girl’s “best friend” is in fact a dog, as the text treats him as human). And quite frankly, I want that dog. He’s adorable.
Final Verdict: This would make a great book for story time or one-on-one readings. It’s fun, and has the added benefit of featuring a little girl building and experimenting.