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The Dot
Cover of The Dot
The Dot
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Features an audio read-along! With a simple, witty story and free-spirited illustrations, Peter H. Reynolds entices even the stubbornly uncreative among us to make a mark—and follow where it takes us. Her teacher smiled. "Just make a mark and see where it takes you." Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself. But Vashti can't draw—she's no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. "There!" she says. That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti's journey of surprise and self-discovery. That special moment is the core of Peter H. Reynolds's delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us.

Features an audio read-along! With a simple, witty story and free-spirited illustrations, Peter H. Reynolds entices even the stubbornly uncreative among us to make a mark—and follow where it takes us. Her teacher smiled. "Just make a mark and see where it takes you." Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself. But Vashti can't draw—she's no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. "There!" she says. That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti's journey of surprise and self-discovery. That special moment is the core of Peter H. Reynolds's delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us.

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    1.9
  • Lexile:
    500
  • Interest Level:
    LG
  • Text Difficulty:
    K - 2

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • "I often visit classrooms and ask who loves to draw," says Peter H. Reynolds, illustrator of the acclaimed Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald and author-illustrator of The Dot, Ish, Sky Color, So Few Of Me, and other enchanting picture books that celebrate the creative process. "In kindergarten and first grade, all the hands go up. In second grade, most of the hands go up. In third grade, half the hands are up. By fourth and fifth grade, most of the hands are down, or perhaps pointing to 'the class artist.' It's sad to see the artistic, creative energy slowing down, being packed away. I am convinced it's because children learn early that there are 'rules' to follow. But when it comes to expressing yourself, you can invent your own rules. You can change them, you can stretch them, or you can ignore them all and dive headfirst into the unknown.

    "Nothing irks me more than seeing a person's creativity get shut down," he continues. "Through my books, I want to help give kids—and grown-up kids—the vocabulary to protect their exploration, in art, writing, and thinking." It certainly appears his approach is working: not only has The Dot garnered high critical acclaim, it also received the 2004 Christopher Medal, awarded to works that "affirm the highest values of the human spirit."

    Peter H. Reynolds recalls that when he was approached about illustrating Megan McDonald's Judy Moody—the first in what would become an extremely popular chapter-book series for middle-graders—he jumped at the chance. For one thing, the feisty, independent Judy reminded him of his own daughter, who was eleven years old at the time. "Judy seemed very real to me, compared to fantasy versions of what little girls are like," he says. What's more, the story itself—in which a moody Judy struggles to create a Me collage for school—clicked with his own beliefs as an educator about the role a child's temperament can play in the learning process.

    But it was Judy's younger "bother," Stink, who would strike the greatest chord within Peter H. Reynolds. "I've fallen in love with the whole cast of characters in the world of Judy Moody, but Stink has always been a favorite of mine. He reminds me of myself growing up: dealing with a sister prone to teasing and bossing around—and having to get creative in order to stand tall beside her." And now Stink is getting the chance to be heard in his own series also by Megan McDonald— which features the artwork of Peter H. Reynolds that Judy's fans have grown to love, including comic strips drawn by Stink himself.

    Peter H. Reynolds and his twin brother, Paul (now his business partner), were born in Canada but moved to a Massachusetts suburb when they were three years old. They made their first foray into publishing at the age of seven, when they began producing their own newspapers and comic books on their father's photocopier. An incessant doodler since childhood, Peter H. Reynolds credits his unique brand of humor and his love for the absurd to growing up with "very eccentric British parents" who were fond of watching Monty Python. "It was not a normal house," he recalls. From his parents he also inherited an appreciation for tea, which he uses both as a beverage and an art medium. In addition, the illustrator brings to the Judy Moody series his sensibility as a "very visual person."

    Founder of the award-winning educational media developer and publisher FableVision, where he produces award-winning children's broadcast programming, educational videos, and multimedia applications, Peter H. Reynolds was recently honored by Verizon as Literacy Leader of the Year. The author-i...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 20, 2003
    In this engaging, inspiring tale, Reynolds (illustrator of the Judy Moody series) demonstrates the power of a little encouragement. Minimal narrative and art elucidate the plight of Vashti, who sulks next to her blank paper at the end of art class: "I just can't
    draw!" The art teacher sagely responds, "Just make a mark and see where it takes you." The scowling girl takes a marker and jabs at her paper, making a minuscule dot. The teacher "pushed the paper toward Vashti and quietly said, 'Now sign it.' " When Vashti returns the following week, her signed picture hangs in a gilded frame over her art teacher's desk, which inspires the budding painter to greater feats. A later spread, guaranteed to evoke smiles, reveals an extensive display of Vashti's dot paintings (and even a similarly themed sculpture) at the school art show, where a boy praises her for being "a really great artist." When he insists that he can't draw, she emulates her art teacher's example. Rendered in watercolor, ink and tea, Reynolds's spare, wispy illustrations exude a fresh, childlike quality pleasingly in sync with his hand-lettered text. Offering a rare balance of subtlety and hyperbole, this small-format volume should give reticent young artists a boost of confidence—and encourage spontaneity in their artistic expression. Reynolds pulls off exactly what his young heroine does, creating an impressive work from deceptively simple beginnings. Ages 5-up.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from November 1, 2003
    PreS-Gr 4-"Just make a mark and see where it takes you." This sage advice, offered by her intuitive, intelligent teacher, sets our young heroine on a journey of self-expression, artistic experimentation, and success. First pictured as being enveloped by a blue-and-gray miasma of discouragement and dejection, Vashti seems beaten by the blank paper before her. It is her defeatist declaration, "I just CAN'T draw," that evokes her teacher's sensitive suggestion. Once the child takes that very first stab at art, winningly and economically dramatized by Reynolds's fluid pen-and-ink, watercolor, and tea image of Vashti swooping down upon that vacant paper in a burst of red-orange energy, there's no stopping her. Honoring effort and overcoming convention are the themes here. Everything about this little gem, from its unusual trim size to the author's hand-lettered text, from the dot-shaped cocoons of carefully chosen color that embrace each vignette of Vashti to her inventive negative-space masterpiece, speaks to them. Best of all, with her accomplishment comes an invaluable bonus: the ability and the willingness to encourage and embolden others. With art that seems perfectly suited to the mood and the message of the text, Reynolds inspires with a gentle and generous mantra: "Just make a mark."-Kathy Krasniewicz, Perrot Library, Greenwich, CT

    Copyright 2003 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal

    October 1, 2004
    This simple, circular story is the answer to every child who ever said, "I can't draw." Follow up by giving all students a piece of paper with their very own dot.

    Copyright 2004 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from November 1, 2003
    K-Gr. 2. Simplicity itself, like the dot in the title, this small book carries a big message. Vashti doesn't like her art class. She can't draw. So when her teacher tells her just to make a mark, Vashti belligerently hands in her paper with a single dot. But what a wise teacher Vashti has. She makes Vashti sign the paper, and then she frames it. Seeing her work on the wall encourages Vashti to do better, and she takes out her watercolors and begins experimenting with all sorts of dots. At a school show, her dots are a hit, and when a little boy tells her he can't draw, she invites him to make his own mark. The squiggle he puts down on paper gets him off and running. The pen-and-ink drawings accented with splotches of colorful circles aren't quite as minimalist as Vashti's work, but they reflect the same spareness and possibility. Art teachers might consider reading this at the beginning of each semester to quell the idea, "I can't draw." (Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2003, American Library Association.)

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    Candlewick Press
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