Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Most Magnificent Thing

I recently requested an opportunity to review a new children’s book called The Most Magnificent Thing. The title intrigued me, because it reportedly had a strong, smart, creative, female character and seemed to relate somewhat to science and engineering, judging from the cover. I received a copy of the book in order to review it, and by coincidence, I had three kids at my house to help me review the book, so I had each child read the story individually and then tell me what they thought without hearing what their siblings said. I asked them questions and typed their responses, which I’ll share before giving my own opinion! But first, check out the trailer for a little background:

Vanna (age 9) and her assistant, Milo!

I think the story was great because I like the colors and how creative the girl is. I wondered what she was going to make, and at the end, when she tried again, I was like, “Hm…." I was shocked, because I thought it was going to be a boring thing that she made, like a wagon or something. I think the message is that you can always use your mind and be creative and use your imagination and see what things you can make, like recycling; you can make a piggy bank out of a milk jug or make a wagon out things you wouldn’t normally use. This book had suspense, because I wondered if she was going to give up, so it made me want to find out. I recommend this book for boys or girls, because just because the main character is a girl doesn’t mean a boy wouldn’t like it.

Kayley (age 10)

In the beginning, it was a little bit slow, but it turned out to be fun and interesting; I was thinking, “What is she going to do? Is she going to be successful or not?  She started off really nice and had fun and liked to do things but she got frustrated. She tried, and it didn’t turn out her way. The author did a good job of describing the character’s feelings. I think the message is that you can’t give up because if you give up you might not end up doing one of the best decisions you could make. I’d recommend this book for kids 7-10, both boys and girls.

Nate (age 11)

It’s about a really creative girl. The heart of the story is that if you put your mind to it, it can take you places that you’ve never been. It could inspire a non-creative person. She’s really is an active child, and she shows people how she works, even if it’s difficult, she finds a way to get it done. I think the author did a really good job with sequencing and the illustrations so she could show what the character was doing, putting imagery to the story. I’d recommend this book for anyone, boy or girl.

My Opinion:
I really liked the sense of humor the author conveys through The Most Magnificent Thing. As a teacher, I also appreciate the theme of perseverance. A “growth mindset" is one of appreciation for process and embracing mistakes as valuable parts of the learning process; teaching about a growth mindset is important, and this book does so beautifully. I really liked the solution-walk the character took when she got frustrated to the point of anger; such great modeling of a healthy problem solving strategy.  

“Bit by bit, the mad gets pushed out of her head.” I loved that part.  

I guess that by not having a name, the character becomes every child, sort of, but I still wish she had a name.  The Most Magnificent Thing would be a wonderful book for a classroom, as its message is powerful, and teachers reach a lot of kids. Its message is appropriate for both boys and girls, children or grandchildren. I think ages four and up could appreciate it, and it would make a great gift for any occasion.

The book has been published by Kids Can Press (how appropriate!), which provided a free copy to each of these winners: Sarah Kohls, Teresa Goethe, and Craig S.

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