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The Sweetest Fig

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  1,622 ratings  ·  208 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 October 25th 1993 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Ronyell
“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...more
Jodie Greene
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
Eve
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.
Laura
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.
Jessica Navarrete
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book because of the storyline. It begins with a grouchy dentist and a woman suffering a toothache. He has to remove the tooth and advises her to take some pain medication. The woman confesses she doesn’t have money, but will pay him with two of the best figs ever. She also mentions these figs have the ability to grant anything you want. He doesn’t believe her and kicks her out before handing her medication! Later that night he gets home and eat the figs. The nex...more
Kyla Frey
There is a dentist who does work on an old lady to remove a tooth, but the lady can not pay in money so she gives him two figs instead. He refused to give her medicine and kicked her out of his office. Later that night, he tried a fig, and it was the best fig he had ever had. The fig made his dreams come true, and he worked to use the second fig to his advantage, to make him the richest man in the world. When he was getting ready to eat the second fig, the dog got to it first and the dentist was...more
Emily
The Sweetest Fig is about a grumpy man who is a dentist who is given two magic figs. The figs are supposed to make your dreams come true. After his first dream came true after eating the first fig he starts training himself to dream about being rich every night. He treats his dog horribly and always yells at him. When he goes to eat his second fig the dog gets to it first and eats it instead. The dogs dream comes true and his and his master’s worlds are changed forever. I would use this book as...more
Michael
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.
Taylor De La Fe
This is a great story. It is about a dentist who had a rotten heart. A little old woman gave him 2 figs instead of money saying they would make his wishes come true. Bibot did not understand and throughout the story, he finds out what she means. I think this story would be great for making predictions and for students to think about what they would do with such a gift. It also can show evil and good. I think this story could be used really from kindergarten to 3rd grade depending on the lesson i...more
Jana
I read this story aloud to my fifth grade students and we all loved it. I hadn't read it before and one of my colleagues loaned it to me. So I was giving it a first read right along with the kids. I love it when that happens, so I can be surprised right along with them. The kids were very engaged, and at first seemed upset by the abrupt ending (they wanted more). We had a discuss about why the author chose to end the book that way, and they all agreed that it's better to come up with your own id...more
Josiah
I don't believe that I've ever finished a Chris Van Allsburg book with any initial response other than "Wow!" He truly is one of the most consistently excellent picture book creators whose work I have ever experienced.

The Sweetest Fig is a tale of subtle foreshadowing, done so elegantly and with such skill that the seemingly innocuous story carries an undercurrent of tangible suspense. How rare is real suspense in a picture book, I ask you?

Bibot, a French dentist who is used to rigid order in...more
Kyle
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...more
Barbara
In Chris Van Allsburg's world, people--and sometimes dogs--get their just desserts, and this picture book is no exception. When Monsieur Bibot helps an elderly woman with a toothache, she pays him with two figs that will make his dreams come true. Disappointed that she gave him no money, he refuses to give her pills for the pain. After eating one fig, he has a most extraordinary day as his crazy dreams from the night before have improbably come true. He hypnotizes himself so that when he sleeps,...more
Tami
The Sweetest Fig is a wickedly funny fable about greed and kindness. Monsieur Bibot is a dentist--a tad fussy in both his personal and professional life. He is more concerned with his own needs and wants than with those of his pet dog, Marcel, or his clients.

When an old woman, unable to pay for his dental services offers him magic figs instead, M. Bibot rushes her out of his office--without the pain medication he has promised, since she has no money to pay for it. The old woman has told M. Bibot...more
Tiffany
The Sweetest Fig is yet another Chris Van Allsburg book that I loved! The ending has a sort of twist to it, like most of his books.

Before I even opened the book, I noticed that the font of the title was done in a "fancy cursive" writing. That coupled with the way he was eating the fig and how he was dressed on the cover made me think that this character was going to be snooty and maybe trying put on a facade that he was better than other people.

The illustrations in this book are done in a very s...more
Brittany Young
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
Andrea
I absolutely loved this book! The twist at the end was entertaining. Starting off with the dentist who seems to be all about perfection, helps a lady who is pain. After removing her tooth, he said he would give her pain killers. However the lady is unable to pay with money but instead pays him with two figs. The lady claims that they will make his dreams come true. The dentist was furious and did not give her the pain killers. After the dentist went home he ate one of the figs, it was one of the...more
Spencer Gold

I really enjoyed looking at Allsburg's illustrations as I feel like I am taking a trip to a museum. His pictures are so realistic looking as if they were photographs. I feel his illustrations have this strong white borders to give more of the impression of looking at a picture. His vivid drawings bring the characters to life. I feel as if they are almost real people I am looking at. I wonder if he uses anyone as inspiration for the characters he draws.

This is a story of a greedy man who only...more
Sharon
The Sweetest Fig tells the story of a dentist who took in a final client for the day and pulled her rotten. She did not have any money but only the sweetest two figs that she told the dentist could make your dreams come true. The dentist did not pay her any attention but rather grew increasinly angry at her lack of being a "paying customer." Nonetheless, he threw her out. Subsequently, he decided to eat one of the figs as a snack and sure enough, his dreams from the previous night were beginnin...more
Josephine
Nov 09, 2007 Josephine rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all fans of picture books
Shelves: picture-books
Of course I love The Polar Express and Jumanji and all the other stunning, breathtaking books that Mr. Van Allsburg has created. And people may think I'm crazy to even name a favorite (and especially a favorite that is not The Polar Express). But The Sweetest Fig is so charming and funny and surprising, I just can't help it.

The story takes place in Paris and begins in the office of Monsieur Bibot, a very unsympathetic, unkind dentist. An old woman comes in with a toothache, and after Bibot extra...more
Emily H.
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...more
Jen
Additional choice book:

The Sweetest Fig by Chris Van Allsburg is about a dentist, Monsieur Bibot, who worked on a woman’s tooth one day. The woman did not have any money, so she paid him in figs. She gave him two figs and said they could make his dreams come true. One night he ate a fig for a bedtime snack and the next day the dream he had came true! He realized he needed to use the second fig wisely. Every night before he went to sleep he told himself he was the richest man on earth. He starte...more
Abby Greb
I really enjoyed this book. I liked how the text was in small boxes at the top of the pages, and how the rest of the page was full of an illustration. Some of the illustrations were really interesting, Bibot's face was only looking directly at the reader once or twice which I found interesting. I think this is a good book for a moral lesson, but I cannot think of any other ways to incorporate it into an actual lesson plan.
Emily
Throughout the entire story, Van Allsburg tends to remain consistent in his colors of choice. The whole story is shown through different shades of brown which I feel draws the reader away from actually becoming a part of the story. He is also very consistent with his placement of text on each page. He places each text box in the upper right or left hand corner on every page depending on the position of his illustrations. The illustrations throughout the entire book also reveal an interesting eff...more
Kristina Lareau
Similar to his other picture books, The Sweetest Fig has elements of magic and surrealism. The soft illustrations depict very life-like figures. A showcase for his artwork as well as a thoroughly integrated textual plot, The Sweetest Fig aims to entertain and play with the ideas of dream, magic and reality. This fantastic story allows for retribution from the poorly treated pet, giving it a distinct "what goes around comes around" message. For older children, this book engages the reader through...more
Anne
Sweetest Fig is a creepy little book, Van Allsburg seems to like to write stories that leave the reader wondering about reality and fantasy and challenge our understanding of both. The Sweetest Fig also includes a dog, another common theme in his picture books. He must be a dog lover.
The Dentist in this story, Monsieur Bibot, a nasty little man, treats his dog with disdain and sometimes his patients as well. An elderly woman comes to him for a bad tooth, late one evening. He helps her hoping to...more
Katelyn Lopez
When I read “The Sweetest Fig” by Chris Van Allsburg, I was very intrigued by the pictures. I also enjoyed the story. It is about a man who is always very angry. He has a dog who he is very strict with and you can very much tell that the dog is unhappy. One day a woman approaches this angry man and offers him two figs. The angry man was very hostile with the woman but accepted the figs anyway. When he ate the first one, he had marvelous dreams that came to life the next day. Knowing what the fig...more
Debbie Tanner
I loved this very mysterious book about a dentist who pulls a tooth thinking he will make some extra money, but the woman who's tooth he pulls gives him three figs instead. She tells him that when he eats the figs, his dreams will come true. It has a really great ending, although had to go back and re-read to figure out exactly what happened. Chris Van Allsburg rocks.
Gina Valdes
The Sweetest Fig was a very interesting book, especially for a child. Like most of Chris Van Allsburg’s books, the plot was somewhat strange and multilayered. To me, this book would be slightly confusing for a child. In the end, it isn’t exactly clear what happened and even I had to really think about it and make sure I figured it out. I did really enjoy the illustrations though! I love that they were original and definitely helped to tell the story. But because the colors were dull, a young rea...more
Sarah Murray
I thought this book was written very well. The pictures seemed very realistic and the illustrating captured Bibots personality very well! Bilbot is very stuck up and into himself and the way he looked did that very well. I thought this books would have more of a lesson to teach to children, but unfortunately not so much. I think this book could range from Kindergarten till 4th grade. It's the type of book that helps kids stretch the imagination of what the "magic" figs could do.

As a child i alwa...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
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