Title of the Book: The One, the Only Magnificent Me!
Author: Dan Haseltine
Illustrator: Joel Schoon Tanis
Publisher/Date: Mackinac Island Press, 2007
Audience: The intended audience is ages 2 and up. Young children who are unable to read will be drawn in by the bright colors. Adolescents may associate with the story’s theme. Even adults can be actively engaged by this wonderful story.
Summary: This is the story of a little boy who feels a little left out because he is not as big or as fast as the other children. He thinks that this means he should be different, and that would make it all better. With the aid of his imagination, he imagines wonderful changes that would make him better, and he goes about making the necessary changes. By the end of the story, with a little help, he comes to see that he already is magnificent, just the way he is.
Literary elements at work in the story: The way the story is told, in the voice of the boy that the story is about, allows the reader to see him in a way the illustrations don’t fully show. This does not in any way take away from the illustrations, which are very well done. As the book begins, our central character is illustrated in muted pastels. This continues throughout the book, except, as his imagination takes over, the products of his imagining are created in bright, bold colors that take over the page(s). He seems to become discouraged as real life falls short of his imagination and the muted pastels return. The story and characterization is told as much through the illustrations as it is through the words.
Theological Conversation Partners: The scripture that could be used to partner with this story easily is Psalms 139.14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Just as the Psalmist is expressing that God has made him as a wonderful creation, the little boy in the story learns that he, too, is wonderful, no, that he is magnificent, just the way he is.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Have you ever wished for any of the things the little boy in our story wished for? Have you ever wished for something different that altered your appearance? Why?
- From whose perspective is the story told? How is this displayed in the illustrations?
- Have you ever prayed for something and then tried to “help” it happen? What were your results?
- Why do you think the little boy failed in his attempts to change his appearance?
- The author and illustrator do not give us any clues on who the person is who comes into the little boy’s room at the end of the book. Who do you think this person is that helps him see how magnificent he is just the way he is?
- Think about those who have been the major influences in your life. Do you think your experiences impacted who you chose in question #5? If so, why?
This review was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary student LaDonna Harrison.