The Most Magnificent Thing
by Ashley Spires,
@ SPL: JP Spire
“Quirky,” “engaging,” and “funny” are words which accurately describe British Columbia-based author-illustrator Ashley Spires’ latest children’s picture book – a book which celebrates both creativity and perseverance.
A little girl (who is not given a name in the story) is determined to build “the most magnificent thing.” She knows exactly what it will be and how it will work. It is certain to be awesome!
With the help of her dog, who is also her best friend, she sets to work with a plethora of junkyard materials.
To her dismay, she discovers that making a magnificent thing is not “easy-peasy.” Her first result is very disappointing, and she tosses the invention aside. Her second result is also disappointing.
The little girl works hard, trying again and again, with her dog helpfully chasing away the squirrels. Each time, the outcome is dismal. Eventually she becomes frustrated and quits.
However, her canine companion knows the perfect way for her to calm down, and they take a walk together.
Upon returning, she tries again, and at last she is happy with her new contraption. (However, the reader can decide if it can truly be described as “magnificent”!)
Author Ashley Spires dedicates her book to “all the little perfectionists of the world”.
** Recommended for ages four to seven.
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
by Todd Parr,
@ SPL: JP Parr
Told in a gentle, reassuring manner, this picture book will persuade young children that it is okay (and fun) to try new things, even if the results are unexpected and mistakes are made. If we fall down, we can get back up. If we spill some milk, it can be cleaned up, and if we don’t know an answer, we can discover it. No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes sometimes. There is almost always a bright side – for example, when we get dirty, a bubble bath is lots of fun. Often, we can learn something from our mistakes.
Todd Parr’s popular books feature large, “child-friendly” illustrations in vivid colors set off by heavy black outlines. In this book, the cheerful, cartoon-like illustrations help to provide further reassurance to young children about making mistakes.
Other picture books created by this author – for example, “It’s Okay to be Different, Reading Makes You Feel Good and The Feelings Book – would also help young children gain self-assurance and confidence.
** Recommended for ages two to six.
– Sally Hengeveld, librarian