“The Most Magnificent Thing” by Ashley Spires

The Most Magnificent Thing“ is a book I had on my radar for a long time. My husband is a proven perfectionist, Finja is easily frustrated like all preschool kids and I love to build castles in the sky – it seemed like the perfect picture book for a cozy hour of reading. And let’s be honest: Just gazing at the cover illustration brings you back to the years of you childhood where you were constantly inventing, building (and re-building) all these crazy things… It seemed like a perfect fit the the publisher “Kids Can Press” auto-approve me for electronic versions of their books on NetGalley after a long week with a coughing and cranky three year old where I frustratingly didn’t finish half the work I planned on, including this new blog… This just happened to be the week just before my next half marathon – and taper always makes me cranky and frustrated. I needed some excitement and encouragement, and this book was to be it!


But let’s get back to “The Most Magnificent Thing”. Do you remember the time where you used to build castles in the sky – and actually tried to make them real? That’s what the nameless little girl in this book and her furry friend set out to. They want to make “The Most Magnificent Thing”. They start planning, gather supplies – and then they start building. They work really hard, hammer, measure and arrange. But the first version of the “Most Magnificent Thing” just isn’t magnificent. It isn’t even grand… They don’t give up, they build again and again. They build fuzzy things, big things, small things, things with antennas and legs. None of them is right. And just like in real life the frustration sets in. The girl gets angry, the dog gets excited – and both quit discouraged. They quit.

But sometimes a break is exactly what you need. With some perspective you realize that some parts of the “wrong” things you built where rather right… “So when she reaches the end of the trail she finally knows how to make the thing MAGNIFICENT.” She hammers and builds…


Children will love “The Most Magnificent Thing”. The colorful, fun illustrations are something to look at, the little girl and her dog are easy to identify with – even when your kid is too young to understand the message behind this book. “The Most Magnificent Thing” teaches us about bringing castles in the sky into reality. It’s about perfectionism and never giving up. Sometimes stepping back is exactly what you need to gain perspective. You can’t rush creativity… This message might be especially important for adult readers, so don’t brush off “The Most Magnificent Thing” as “just another children book”!

We read the electronic version of this book. For Finja looking at a book on the computer or a Kindle isn’t nearly as exciting as being able to turn pages and actually touch the illustrations (I’m not so happy about fingerprints on my Mac 😉 ), so this was a little bummer. Anyway, as I love this book and it’s a perfect companion for Finja and my perfectionistic husband I might buy a hardcover version of “The Most Magnificent Thing” soon. We loved this book – and will give it five crowns for content and illustrations. I also love the educational resources the publisher offers on their homepage, including a teaching guide with fun ideas!

Content: Five crowns
Illustration: Five crowns

More information:
The Most Magnificent Thing
written and illustrated by Ashley Spires
Publisher: Kids Can Press (April 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1554537045
ISBN-13: 978-1554537044


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