Picture Book Review: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Picture Book Review: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley SpiresThe Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Published by Kids Can Press on April 1st 2014
Pages: 32

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.

most magnificent

The Most Magnificent Thing is the story of a regular unnamed little girl and her little companion. They both enjoy making things, and one day the little girl decides to make the “Most Magnificent” thing. Together they set off on a series of trial and error experiments to try to create exactly what the little girl has envisioned in her mind. However, she just can’t seem to get it right. Eventually, she gets frustrated, angry and is about to give up completely, but her faithful companion pup convinces her to step away from the project and take a walk instead. As they go on their walk, the little girl starts to calm down and to relax. She returns again to all the different versions of her previous “failures” and she starts to see that there are bits and pieces from each of them that actually could work after all. With a clear mind, and a new positive outlook the little girl and her little assistant start anew and finally create The Most Magnificent Thing. Though it was a bit heavier than expected, and the color needed some work, it was just exactly what she wanted after all.


WOW! This book AMAZED me. The illustrations are adorable, colorful and filled with so many details to look at. The vocabulary used in the book is fantastic, using words like “tinkered”, “pondered”, “fiddling” , and “wondered” throughout the story. I love that there is never a name given to the little girl, so readers can either place themselves in her place, or pick whatever name they want for her. I think it’s really great that the little girl is just a standard, regular girl. She’s not a princess, or witch, warrior or fairy. She’s just a little girl with lots of imagination and spunk. I love the lessons that can be found between the lines of this book. Lessons about the struggles and frustrations that come with trying to execute a vision into a reality. Lessons about not needing things to be perfect for them to be magnificent. Lessons about having patience and perseverance. Lessons about how sometimes you need to just take a breather and clear your mind before you can get to where you need to be. Lessons about how sometimes you need to fail or get something not quite right in order to achieve your ultimate goals. All of these lessons are wonderful for children to learn, but they are also great reminders to the adults reading this book to their children, students, family members or themselves. Big lessons, in such a simple yet beautifully written story about a regular girl and her little sidekick. It’s also a marvelous thing to see that the little girl’s ideas and projects are what the main focus of the book is and not so much the little girl herself. I love that she is written as a creator, a thinker, a builder. Both girls and boys will enjoy this book, but it is really lovely to see a book promote Girl Power so eloquently.


I highly recommend this witty and adorable book to everyone, young or old. It is the type of book that can be read over and over again, and each time there are new things to discover upon the bright and detailed illustrations on each page. It truly is a Most Magnificent Thing.

Thank you, NetGalley and Kids Can Press for providing me with the E-ARC of this awesome book.