Sonderbooks Book Review of

The Most Magnificent Thing

by Ashley Spires

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The Most Magnificent Thing

by Ashley Spires

Review posted September 9, 2014.
Kids Can Press, 2014. 32 pages.
Starred Review
2014 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #6 Picture Books

I love this book. A tribute to the power of failure.

A girl has a wonderful idea. She’s going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She enlists the help of her dog best friend and assistant. She takes a big pile of what looks like junk and sets to work.

But when it’s finished:

They are shocked to discover that the thing isn’t magnificent.
Or good. It isn’t even kind-of-sort-of okay. It is all WRONG.
The girl tosses it aside and gives it another go.

This happens over and over. The thing isn’t right. She keeps trying again, adapting her design. It never turns out magnificent.

Finally, getting angrier and angrier, she crunches her finger.

The pain starts in her finger.
It rushes up to her brain…
…and she EXPLODES!
It is not her finest moment.

However, her friend the dog convinces her to take a walk and cool down. And when she returns, she sees her failures in a whole new light. She sees parts of different contraptions that are actually quite right. (And in the background, we see bystanders appreciating her efforts as well.)

The new perspective gives her the energy and excitement to try once more. The final result is not perfect, but it’s truly magnificent.

I love the fine print on the page opposite the title: “The artwork in this book was rendered digitally with lots of practice, two hissy fits and one all-out tantrum.”

This book is a beautiful tribute to persistence, hard work – and failure.