The Most Magnificent Thing

Ashley Spires
Ashley Spires

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.

978-1-55453-704-4 | Apr 1, 2014
List Price: USD $18.99, CAD $21.99
4-color 9 x 9 32 pages
Grades: PreSchool To 2 / Ages: 3 to 7
978-1-77138-174-1 | Apr 1, 2014
List Price: USD $9.99, CAD $9.99

Awards & Reviews

“It's a useful description of the creative process, an affirmation of making rather than buying, and a model for girl engineers.”
— Publishers Weekly, January 2014
“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, February 2014
“... 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, March 2014
“This indefatigable little girl won't let frustration get in the way of creating her magnificent contraption. Determination is key!”
— Today's Parent, April 2014
“A little girl has big plans to make the most magnificent thing, with the help of her canine sidekick.”
— Canadian Family, April 2014
“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, April 2014
“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,, April 2014
“Young readers will love the surprise ending. Readers learn that not everything comes out “just the right way” instantly.”
— International Reading Association, April 2014
“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.”
— CM Magazine, May 2014
“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, July 2014
“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, October 2014
“The Most Magnificent Thing captures the ups and downs of the creative process perfectly ... with honesty and even a little elegance.”
— Globe and Mail, March 2014
2022 - Bolognaragazzi Crossmedia Award, Bologna Ragazzi Award (BRAW) Committee, Short-listed
2016 - Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award Jr. List, Florida Association for Media in Education, Short-listed
2015 - Blue Spruce, Forest of Reading, Short-listed
2015 - Morning Calm Medal, Korea International Schools, Short-listed
2015 - ALA Notables Children's Book List, Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), Winner
2015 - Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children List, Recommended Book, NCTE, Commended
2015 - Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award, Canadian Library Association, Short-listed
2015 - Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize, West Coast Book Prize Society, Short-listed
2015 - CCBC Choices, Cooperative Children's Book Center, Winner
2015 - Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards, Ontario Arts Council, Short-listed
2015 - Chocolate Lily Book Award, Picture Book category, Short-listed
2014 - 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2014, New York Public Library, Winner
2014 - Top 2014 Mighty Girl Books For Younger Readers, A Mighty Girl, Winner
2014 - Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award, IBBY-Canada, Short-listed

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