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The Sweetest Fig

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  2,788 Ratings  ·  316 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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Nov 21, 2016 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.
“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
With Van Allsburg the marriage between word and picture is always the purest delight to behold. With each book, he finds that balance in the narrative that is full of elegant pauses, corners of mystery and endings that leaving you with a crooked smile upon your face and a mind full of afterthoughts.
The Sweetest Fig has the reader follow the rather orderly, strict and modestly well-to-do life of Bibot, a Parisian dentist. When an elderly customer pays him with two 'magical' figs that she promise
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing

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Jodie Greene
Mar 25, 2014 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
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014, picture
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.
Ellie Labbett
A strangely unnerving and intriguing story that bears witness to the consequences of greed and cold-heartedness. The narrative becomes richer with each read, allowing more connections to be made between unraveling events and the earlier actions of Monsieur Bibot. There is a very surreal and magical feel to Allsburg’s illustrations, particularly in the dreams breaking into reality and the chaos that ensues for the antagonist. This certainly calls external forces or fate into my mind, and allows f ...more
The illustrations alone, are worth the read! Bibot is not only a dentist, but a mean guy. The ending!!! Oh my! Lesson: control your dreams when eating sweet figs? Be kind to your pets? Don’t look a gift fig in the mouth?

This fulfills the popsugar reading challenge for book with a fruit or vegetable in the title.
Nancy Kotkin
This is the second clunker I've read from this author, and both books were about cruelty to animals, which, frankly, is an odd theme for a picture book.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a surprise ending and I love the illustations.
One of the pleasures of reading a Van Allsburg book is finding the bull terrier in his amazing illustrations...sometimes he's a plush toy, or a pull toy, or just a fleeting figure on a busy street scene. What fun to finally have a bull terrier play a major role!

Marcel's owner is an insufferable man, a dentist who seems to enjoy inflicting pain...when a patient cannot pay, she gives him two of the sweetest figs in the world, and tells him whatever he dreams after eating the fig will come to pass
Kirsten Whisler
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
The text tells a story about a man who is not very kind and undeserving on magical figs. The text flows with the illustrations and the ending was definitely unpredictable. A dentist was working one day when an old lady came in moaning about a toothache. When he fixed the tooth the lady could only pay in figs, but she claimed that they were magical figs that could make dreams come true. The dentist scoffed at this but took them home anyways. That night he ate one before bed and the next day he fo ...more
Kaitlyn Cantrell
Summary: This book was about a dentist who was paid with two "magic" figs for his services. The figs allowed his dreams to come true. The dentist loved the figs until the end of the book when his dog ate a fig and had a dream about switching places with the dentist. In the end, the dog and dentist switched bodies. The dog was happy but the dentist was not.
Evaluation: I thought this book was interesting for two reasons: The woman had no money but what she had to offer held more value than money b
Marc Bisson
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In The Sweetest Fig, Dr. Bebot has a dog and is not very nice to the dog. He will often pull his dog's leash or do various other mean things throughout the book. When a woman needs help with her teeth, Dr. Bebot helps her, but is infuriated when she cannot pay for his work. The woman offers Bebot figs, which Bebot takes. Bebot makes wishes on these figs through his dreams. However, Bebot finds out that he should be careful what he wishes for and how he treats others!

This is a great book to help
Elizabeth Menchaca
Nov 05, 2014 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
Nov 23, 2014 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.

Feb 08, 2015 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
Nov 01, 2011 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.
The Docta
Jul 03, 2016 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 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.
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
A remarkable juxtaposition between good and evil and the symbolic use of the fig is pure genius!
Matthew Yung
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Sweetest Fig by Chris Van Allsburg is a dark fantasy picture book that incorporates greed and what how love for money can blind you. Mr. Bibot is was a dentist who only cared for money. With only his dog Marcel as his roommate, whom he abuses and treats poorly he sets out to his work like any other day. Upon arriving at his work an old woman requests his help with a tooth ache. Being the greedy man he is he accepts and (although very rough) helps the elderly lady with her tooth ache. He is d ...more
Maddi Holmes
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book can fit into quite a few genres, but I think it can be best categorized as traditional literature. The recommended age group is the primary, grades second through third.

I literally laughed out loud when I finished this book! What a great book about "justice" or "karma." I would also categorize this book as a picture book. You could take all of the words away from the story, and still be able to understand what is going on. Chris Van Allsburg's illustrations alone are incredible. I love
Kristin Fisher
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a fun story with a mix of fantasy and reality. A dentist gets paid by a patient in figs, which he thinks is a horrible gift, but then he realizes that they really can make his dreams come true. The man begins to learn how to control his dreams, but his dog eats his last fig which leads to a funny ending. The illustrations do a great job of telling the story and they take up 3/4 of the page, which I found awesome as van Allsburg is a great illustrator. This story would be enjoyed by child ...more
Lindsey Schultz
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Monsieur Bibot is paid for his dental services with special figs. These special figs make your dreams come true. The next morning he realizes his dreams did come true. He saves the next fig for a special night and while he is prepping to eat the fig, he dog eats it. I thought this book was fantasy as it has the dreams coming true to because of special figs. I really enjoyed the illustrations, but the storyline wasn't exciting for me. Students may enjoy the fantasy part and the twist at the end.
Tim Armstrong
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of Van Allsburg lesser known books, but for me just about his best!! To have a dentist as your central protagonist is perfect in so many ways as they are such scary people, or we're when I was a kid!
But it's the dog - and if you read every Van Allsburg you'll know this dog, as he or she appears in every one of his picture books. The dog looks like a Staffordshire Terrier, or Bulldog, I'm not sure but in this picture book the dog takes centre stage. Wonderful stuff and as always a good moral
Nakia Arquette
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
The illustrations are very detailed and aid the reader in having a great reading experience. The storyline takes a hilarious turn at the end that the reader probably wasn't expecting; I loved it! The book could be used to talk to students about repercussions of their actions in regard to greed and being ungrateful.
Bibot is a dentist in France and is lacking in kindness. When the classic "old woman without any money" pays him with figs for pulling her tooth, he sends her away without any pain killer. She doesn't bring a curse on him, but poetic justice finds him in the end when the magic figs make actual dreams come true. The sudden tragic ending gives the book a cautionary tale feel.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: educ542
Another illustrative achievement by Van Allsburg. The emotions provoked by the text make you turn the pages faster and faster. The ending is delightful! Used to teach a lesson about greed and kindness.
Courtney Stevens
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tim Morrison uses this book to teach children about inferences. Lovely illustrations! A rude dentist eats a magical fig and his dreams start to become reality. Then the other fig is eaten by his dog...
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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