The Most Wonderful Thing in the World by Vivian French

The Most Wonderful Thing in the World

Written by Vivian French
Illustrated by Angela Barrett

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Venice provides the background for this delightful fairy-tale. Its king and queen realise that their daughter needs a husband to be king when she’s queen. But how to choose one? Find the young man who can show you the most wonderful thing in the world, advises the wisest man they know. As suitor after suitor arrives at the palace, the princess is out exploring the city with a charming young man. He it is who finally shows her parents the most wonderful thing in the world. It’s a satisfying story, cleverly told and Angela Barrett has great fun with the fabulous array of marvels presented by the suitors. The ending will leave everyone happy. ~ Andrea Reece


The Most Wonderful Thing in the World by Vivian French

From the author of the Tiara Club series comes a gently satirical fairy story for our times, illustrated by one of today's finest artists, Angela Barrett.

When a king and a queen promise to marry their daughter Lucia to the man who can show them the most wonderful thing in the world, suitors descend on the palace bearing gifts. Roses, jewels and exotic birds; dancing girls, wind machines and mythical beasts - but nothing feels quite right. As the last suitor leaves, his weapons of mass destruction rejected, the king and queen are exhausted. But when a shy, young man, who isn't a suitor at all, steps forward, they finally understand what the most wonderful thing in the world really is.

Vivian French's masterful retelling of a forgotten story is both funny and heart-warming, and Angela Barrett's breathtaking illustrations give life to an enchanting and romantic fairytale city.


Barrett's paintings are exquisitely dreamy and delicate. -- Amanda Craig The Times

Vivian French is a sublime story-teller. The Sunday Telegraph

Exquisitely heartfelt The Independent

Angela Barrett's breathtaking and nostalgic illustrations give life to an enchanting fairytale city full of subtle surprises while French's masterful retelling of the magical story makes this a perfect wedding gift for true romantics. Lancashire Evening Post

Barrett's illustrations complement the story perfectly. They are rendered in watercolour. The detail is painstaking and gorgeous, from the braided mane of the snow white horse to the shimmering scales of the mermaid. In all of the illustrations, Barrett employs a palette of gentle colours, like colours from the edge of the rainbow. There are washed-out pinks, greens, blues, and beige. The overall effect is that of a world viewed the fuzzy lens of memory. The Most Wonderful Thing in the World is a joy. It is a lovely story and it is beautifully illustrated. Citizen Times enchanting tale set in a city full of subtle surprises. It is a touching fairytale that will delight young and old. The Guernsey Press and Star

About the Author

Vivian French

Vivian French is a highly acclaimed children's author who has written more than 250 books during the course of her career, including Caterpillar, Butterfly, The Tales from the Five Kingdoms series and Yucky Worms. Her recent work includes the critically acclaimed picture book The Most Wonderful Thing in the World. Vivian teaches on the illustration course at Edinburgh School of Art, and helped to found the mentoring scheme Picture Hooks for aspiring young illustrators. She lives in Edinburgh. Read further information about Vivian French here.

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Book Info


32 pages


Vivian French
More books by Vivian French

Author's Website


Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

2nd June 2016




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