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The Sweetest Fig

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  2,372 Ratings  ·  272 Reviews
"These figs are very special," the woman whispered. "They can make your dreams come true." -- Thus Monsieur Bibot, the cold-hearted dentist, was given two ordinary-looking figs as payment for extracting a tooth from an old woman's mouth. Monsieur Bibot refused to believe such nonsense and proceeded to eat one of the figs for a bedtime snack. Although it was possibly the fi ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 1993 by Houghton Mifflin Company
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“The Sweetest Fig” is a mysterious children’s book from the brilliant mind of Chris Van Allsburg which is about how a picky man named Monsieur Bibot who receives two mysterious figs from an old woman and after he learns the magic of the two figs, he suddenly gets unexpected consequences. “The Sweetest Fig” is truly a brilliant book about the consequences of treating others unkindly that many children will love for many years.

Chris Van Allsburg has done an excellent job with illustrating this boo
Nov 21, 2016 Amy rated it it was ok
The best part of this book was the cover. It made me laugh. However, I thought the book was a bit mean spirited and the switch-a-roo at the end, a bit Kafkaesque. I've read other reviewers that were delighted about the ending, but I just felt like neither character was going to come to any good. The pictures are well drawn, but the sentiment of them, again, mean spirited.
Aug 10, 2016 Eve rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
I've been working my way through the "1001 Children's Books to Read Before You Grow Up" list, and this particular title caught my eye. It was a fun story, set in Paris (winning). The illustrations were amazing, and I loved the fantasy aspects of the plot.
Elizabeth Menchaca
Nov 05, 2014 Elizabeth Menchaca rated it it was amazing
Bibot the dentist is a fussy greedy man, he lives in an apartment in Paris France with his small white dog Marcel, who he constantly mistreats. One day an old woman walks into Monsieur Bibot’s office complaining of a toothache, hoping to make some extra francs he agrees to help her regardless of the fact that she does not have an appointment. After gladly removing her tooth with some pliers the old woman tells the dentist that she does not have any money to pay for her procedure but that she ha ...more
Dec 12, 2016 Cathy rated it really liked it
A remarkable juxtaposition between good and evil and the symbolic use of the fig is pure genius!
Jodie Greene
Mar 28, 2014 Jodie Greene rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
This is a magic realism picture book about a Parisian dentist who is paid by one of his patients with magic two figs. He eats one of the figs and the next day, he realizes that the dream he had the night before came true. He sees the Eiffel Tower turned into rubber. He decides to train himself to dream that he is a rich man. After a few nights of dreaming about being rich, he decides it’s time to eat the last fig. When he has his back turned, his dog (who he mistreats earlier in the book) eats t ...more
Nov 23, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it
After reading a picture book, I try to guess what inspired the author/artist. Today's question is, why would someone write such a snarky little kid's book with such soft and lovely art?

A small cafe with an outdoor section.

VAN ALLSBURG sits in the sunshine with a coffee and his sketchbook, waiting for inspiration to strike. He rubs his jaw, still throbbing from a trip to the dentist.

A nattily dressed man crosses the sidewalk, dragging his dog and yanking the leash.

Aug 17, 2016 Dana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
Another excellent book by Van Allsburg. An egotistical and cruel hearted man who is incredibly abusive toward his dog receives two figs from a mysterious old woman. She has only these fruits to give in payment to him for dental work he had done for her. He disdainfully takes the figs as she tells him that they make dreams come true. He finds this to indeed be the case in a fun twist of events involving his poor abused dog at the end of the story. A great book for allowing the opportunity for pre ...more
Richard Ward
Jul 22, 2016 Richard Ward rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone of any age.
A picture storybook for small children, though they will need an adult's help in understanding it. (Unless your toddler understands hypnotism and is familiar with the Eiffel Tower.) Beautifully illustrated by the author/illustrator of Jumanji and Polar Express.
A selfish French dentist pulls a woman's tooth and is paid with a pair of figs, magic figs that will make the eater's dreams come true. His dog is sick of how the dentist treats him. Will the dog see to it that the mean dentist gets his j
Nov 01, 2011 Laura rated it it was amazing
I'm starting a Chris Van Allsburg unit with my 3rd grade classes. We read this book to kick off the unit and to talk about making inferences. The kids really liked it -- the twist at the end was well done and my students enjoyed explaining how they figured out what really happened. Recommended for grades 3 and up. Younger students may also like the book but will need a bit more support to read between the lines.
May 05, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it
A good book to use to introduce fairness to others and behaving responsibly. When the dentist tells the old woman to leave without pain medicine one could discuss altruism and giving to people who need help. This could also be used to discuss responsible behavior towards animals.
The Docta
Jul 03, 2016 The Docta rated it did not like it
Very unsettling and creepy. I wondered where it is going with the story at first then it ends up just giving me the willies when I finished. I am not sure I was so unsettled by this book upon first reading and a little child. Something made me not like it but I was not so unerved I don't think.
Dec 06, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it
A sweet and stylized look at the pitfalls of narcissism, The Sweetest Fig brings to mind the clean simplicity of certain French films and American novels and manages an artfulness in 20 pages most can't in 300.
Rachel Garcia
Apr 27, 2016 Rachel Garcia rated it really liked it
I am always a fan of Chris Val Allsburg, and I was surprised to see a title I haven't heard before. The Sweetest Fig requires a little bit more thinking as it explores the realm of fantasy versus reality with, not only words but, illustrations. It was a fun and engaging read.
Jan 12, 2017 Thabata rated it really liked it
Monsieur Bibot is a fussy, strict, greedy, selfish dentist. He has a small white dog named Marcel, very good natured, whom he dislikes. One morning, an old woman comes to his office complaining of a toothache, but her payment is nothing short from disappointing to Bibot. She settled the debt not with money, but with two figs – and those would make all his dreams come true. He didn’t believe a word and threw her out. At night, when he ate one of the fruits as a snack, he thought that those were t ...more
Jane The Pale
Nov 05, 2016 Jane The Pale rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kiddos
An ending unlike most children's books. Even once I see it coming I was still surprised. My three year old did not understand what was happening. I think it's more a six, seven, eight year old book.
Hoream Barrio
Dec 13, 2016 Hoream Barrio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitivamente me encantó
Briaughna Ashley
Oct 19, 2016 Briaughna Ashley rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed residing this book. I love the way that the story unfolds, and the fact that I never really expected the ending. I appreciate that the moral of the story is fairly clear, and I love that the most unassuming, seemingly helpless character is the one that wins in the end. I also think that the illustrations supported the storyline very well, and we're appropriate for the tone of the story.
Jan 08, 2017 metimoteo rated it really liked it
Chris Van Allsburg's The Sweetest Fig is a delicious tale of comeuppance. It's beautifully illustrated by the author, cleverly written and a story sure to bring a wry smile to your face upon reading it.
Tiffany Fox
May 30, 2015 Tiffany Fox rated it it was amazing
Title: The Sweetest Fig
Author: Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrator: Chris Van Allsburg
Publisher/Date: HMH/ 10/25/1993
Pages/Format: 32/ Hardcover
ISBN: 9780395673461

"These figs are very special," the woman whispered. "They can make your dreams come true." --Thus Monsieur Bibot, the cold-hearted dentist, was given two ordinary-looking figs as payment for extracting a tooth from an old woman's mouth. Monsieur Bibot refused to believe such nonsense and proceeded to eat one of the figs for a bedtime snack.
Jessica Terry
Dec 28, 2016 Jessica Terry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, kids, animals
This is another great story by Chris Van Allsburg. The ending has a twist, so I won't give it away, but this book is about Kharma and being kind, mainly. The illustrations are incredible as with all of
Van Allsburg's work. You won't be disappointed.
Sep 28, 2016 Marmot rated it liked it
This was kinda funny, but not as good as I was expecting after reading some reviews
Alex Valenzuela
Feb 19, 2015 Alex Valenzuela rated it liked it
The Sweetest Fig is a picturebook written by author/illustrator Chirs Van Allsburg. The story tells about a very mean dentist whom after helping a begging patient begrudgingly receives two sweet figs "that make dreams come true" as payment for his service. One night before heading to bed, the dentist, Bilbot, discovers that these in fact are the sweetest figs he has ever tasted. The next morning as he drags his poor pup outside for a walk, he discovers that he's the center of attention. He's gon ...more
Sep 23, 2016 Gheeta rated it liked it
A pleasant modern fable about the need to be careful of what one wishes for! Van Allsburg's illustrations are lovely as always.
Emily H.
May 06, 2012 Emily H. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: roser_top-25
Book type: Picture storybook (fantasy)
Intended Audience: Can be read by five year olds, and can also be used for writing activities in fourth grade

Although some people perhaps feel that their enjoyment of Van Allsburg was taken away when his two Caldecott illustration winners, Jumanji and Polar Express, were turned into children's movies, I cannot say the same for myself. I'd seen both movies and had not read the books and was blown away by the writing and the illustrations. I really enjoyed th
Oct 16, 2012 Kyle rated it it was amazing
This is my Author Study book.

This book is about a greedy dentist who sees a patient who cannot pay for her visit. since she cannot give money, she pays with a fig. The dentist's dog who he occasionally mistreats, by accidentally eats the fig that makes all your "dreams come true". The dog's dream comes true, and his owner is turned into a dog. Though Chris Van Allsburg did not win the Caldecott award for this book, I still think he did a nice job illustrating this story. He did an excellent job
Brittany Young
Sep 18, 2011 Brittany Young rated it really liked it
I am really becoming hooked on Van Allsberg’s writing. The illustrations and story are absolutely captivating. This book is a bit smaller than the other books are. It is also composed in a vertical fashion like “The widow’s broom” is. The illustrator chose dot illustration again, but this time with dark mauve, brown, cream, and dark colors in a lighter hue. I think the dot illustrations would be interesting for a young reader to look at, I think they would want to scan the picture and see how al ...more
Chloey Jones
Nov 05, 2014 Chloey Jones rated it really liked it
A tight wad dentist believes he is the best of the best and therefore deserves to be paid as such. When he finishes up work on an elderly lady she informs him she has no money to offer him but two of the sweetest figs he will ever taste. Disgusted he kicks her out if his office and takes the figs home. Grudgingly the dentist tries a fig when he return home and discovers the old women was right as the pig was juicy and delicious but more importantly the next day the dentist discovered the pig ma ...more
Christopher Seideman
May 02, 2015 Christopher Seideman rated it it was amazing
Monsieur Bibot is a cold-hearted dentist, detests dogs, and is generally uncouth. After performing an unscheduled dental surgery on an elderly woman right before closing, he’s paid in a truly life-changing way. The woman gives him two figs, which she says are capable of making his dreams come true. Having judged the payment as inadequate, he throws the elderly woman out on the street with no pain medication, only to return home to the dog he despises, Marcel. However, when Bibot learns that ther ...more
Feb 25, 2015 Erin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
FANTASY- As with all Chris Van Allsburg books, The Sweetest Fig allows the reader to practice their inference skills as Monsieur Bibot and his dog, Marcel, take us on a journey few of us have ever seen. One that involves magic figs and dreams literally coming true. Monsieur Bibot is a dentist in Paris who is paid one day by an old women by two "magic figs". When Monsieur Bibot soon realizes that these figs do in fact make your dreams come true it is up to him to train his brain to use them wisel ...more
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Chris was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on June 18, 1949, the second child of Doris Christiansen Van Allsburg and Richard Van Allsburg. His sister Karen was born in 1947.

Chris’s paternal grandfather, Peter, owned and operated a creamery, a place where milk was turned into butter, cream, cottage cheese, and ice cream. It was named East End Creamery and after they bottled the milk (and made the ot
More about Chris Van Allsburg...

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