Ashley Spires, the lovely author and illustrator of "The Most Magnificent Thing", told us her personal story behind the making of this inspiring book.
If you’re LUCKY, your child or student will want you to read aloud "The Most Magnificent Thing"…. over and over again. WHY? Keep scrolling down to learn why EFFORT is the ultimate game changer.
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"The Most Magnificent Thing" follows the path of a “regular girl” and her dog “assistant,” who create something special, from beginning to end. The girl “hammers and measures.” “She twists, tweaks and fastens.” As in real life, her first attempts do not produce stellar results. She even “quits” until realizing:
"There are some parts of the WRONG that are really quite RIGHT."
In the end her EFFORT and perseverance is rewarded with The Most Magnificent Thing.
Read and Explore
Ashley told us a most amazing fun fact. "The Most Magnificent Thing" is about her own personal journey coming up with a new book.
"There was a completely different story I was working on (leading up to The Most Magnificent Thing)…..I was the girl in the book in that I got angry at myself…my career was over…I had plateaued….I almost let my mistakes stop me."
Ashley stopped working on a story line about a tiger and instead wrote about herself, the girl in the polka dot dress, and the value of perseverance and hard work. Of the many books Ashley has illustrated and or written, this one is the MOST successful.
"I like kids to know that I have to make lots of mistakes to make anything, especially when I make a book."
- Ashley drew 8 different versions of the girl for her editor; varying hair cuts, eyes, clothes.
- Originally the girl was in knee socks and a traditional dress with a Peter Pan collar. Ashley updated her dress and switched to leggings.
"I’m crazy for polka dots."
- Ashley’s dog Gordon has the same personality as the dog in "The Most Magnificent Thing".
- Ashley has cats too. You can find a cat in one of the illustrations.
Watch Ashley's "Book Hack"
- If your child likes to tinker you’ll want to know about the global “Maker Movement”. The Maker Movement is the modern version of DIY culture. “Makers” are people (of all ages) who typically marry technology with design and hands-on tinkering to create new products and services. Ashley’s unnamed polka dot girl is the ultimate "Maker", as is Ashley.
- WHY do you hope your child LOVES the book, "The Most Magnificent Thing"? It embraces what neuroscientists and teachers refer to as the “Growth Mindset," where sustained effort is the catalyst for success. Watch this short video and it will all come together.
Ask your child:
- Ashley Spires writes, “For all the little perfectionists in the world.” What is a perfectionist? (someone who wants something to be as good as it can possibly be, flawless, perfect)
- Read the book title. What does MAGNIFICENT mean? (impressively beautiful, awesome, striking, spectacular)
- Looking at the cover, how do you know the dog is her helper? (he has a wrench in his mouth.)
- Why is she drawing on a piece of paper? (she’s making a plan of how to build the MAGNIFICENT thing.)
- What is an assistant? (someone who helps or assists you) Do you have an assistant?
- Who does the girl hire as an assistant? (the dog)
- “Next, they gather their supplies. They set up somewhere out of the way and get to work.” Do you think the girl set up her things “out of the way”? (no). Why? (because she’s in the middle of the sidewalk which blocks people from coming and going)
- What does tinker mean? (to repair or improve something)
- The girl tries so many ways to make the MAGNIFICENT thing better. Can you think of another way to make it better? (any answer will do, color it red, give it a horn, whatever your child thinks)
- Why is the girl so mad? (she has tried so hard and she still has not come up with the MAGNIFICENT thing).
- What is the opposite of quit? (allow, continue, finish, persevere)
- On her walk she begins to feel better. What would you have done to feel better?
- Why is the girl’s dog on a leash when they take a walk, yet NOT on a leash while they are working? (any answer is a good one)
- When she comes upon all the things that she made, how many are there? (Have your child count with her/his finger, 10).
- The girl takes a little piece from one thing and a little piece from another and she works without any distractions. What does distraction mean? (a thing that stops someone from giving full attention to something).
- Do you think the dog was distracted by anything? (Yes, a squirrel)
- If you were to create a MAGNIFICENT thing, what would it be? (open ended question)
Thank you Caleb for sharing your enthusiasm for reading and coloring with the online Little Kids' Book Club.
Send us your creations inspired by featured books, and we'll share them with our online community in upcoming book club posts. Happy reading!
Caryl Frankenberger & Julie E. Janson info@FALearningSolutions.com