Junking Junket: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
THIS IS A REGULAR GIRL AND HER BEST FRIEND IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD.
SHE MAKES THINGS.
ONE DAY THE GIRL GETS A WONDERFUL IDEA. SHE IS GONG TO MAKE THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING.
With her little pug pup along for moral support, our little inventor begins at the beginning. She collects supplies (others might call it junk), rounds up her tools, and sets up shop on a piece of unused sidewalk in front of her brownstone. She radiates confidence. She's done this before, you know.
Her mind abuzz with grandiose concepts, she sets to work. She knows just what it should look like and exactly what it should do.
But it doesn't.
THE THING ISN'T MAGNIFICENT. OR GOOD.
IT ISN'T EVEN KIND-OF-SORT-OF OKAY.
IT'S ALL WRONG!
But our girl doesn't quit. She perseveres.
SHE TWISTS, TWEAKS, FASTENS.
SHE EXPLODES. (It is not her finest moment.)
It's a hunk of junk! The girl is fit to be tied! She's tried everything and she's either going to have a meltdown or her invention is going to be headed that way.
Her dog steps in with his leash in his mouth and suggests that they cool it with a nice walk. The dog is a genius!
On her walk the girl starts to see what she can do to make her invention just what she imagines--something spectacular! She sees that some parts are not all wrong, after all.
Suffice it to say our girl prevails, and she ends up with a superlative sidecar for her skooter, just right for her dog, in Ashley Spires' inspired and inspiring The Most Magnificent Thing (Kids Can Press, 2014), which shows that the course of invention doesn't always go well, but there's always something to be learned. Spire's main characters, her regular girl and her loyal pup, play out their device drama in front of a row of big-city brownstone houses sketched out only in black and white, and if you read the copyright page, (and I know you always do!) she herself admits that her illustrations having been "rendered digitally with lots of practice, two hissy fits, and one all-out tantrum!" It's a case of, er, life imitating art, or something like that, as this author-illustrator shows the value of tinkering, fiddling, and finally going back to the drawing board until she achieves something magnificent!
Spires should feel vindicated: the reviewers love her creation, and kids will, too! Kirkus gives it their gold star and says, "Spires' understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle characterization for maximum delight."