Reviews for Dot
Booklist Reviews 2003 November #1
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." ((Reviewed November 1, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Spring
Convinced she's no good at art, a girl named Vashti angrily draws a single black dot, which her teacher frames, goading Vashti to outdo herself by creating a whole series of dot paintings in a myriad of colors and styles. Energetic cartoon illustrations and handwritten text make palatable the book's none-too-subtle message about nurturing creativity. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2003 October #1
Driven by the observation that most children lose their enthusiasm for making art as they get older, Reynolds prods a reluctant child into an eye-opening whirl of creativity. Asserting that she's no artist, Vashti angrily responds to a teacher's mild suggestion by dashing a small mark onto a big sheet of paper, then signing it. Seeing that sheet in a frame the next day, she mutters, "Hmmph! I can make a better dot than THAT!"-and proceeds to fill sheet after sheet with glorious arrays of splotches and blotches. In his own freely drawn pictures, Reynolds sets off Vashti's colorful creations by hanging them, in the subsequent art show, in front of human figures defined by neutral-toned washes. And Vashti passes on her new-found insight at the end, inviting a young admirer who ruefully claims that he can't draw a straight line to make a squiggle and sign it. This isn't going to create interest where there is none, but it may speak to formerly artistic young readers who are selling their own abilities short. (Picture book. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus 2003 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2004 March
Coming out of one's protective shell is never easy; the walls we build around ourselves for safety can also keep us from venturing out into new spaces. This is the story of a little girl who is gently coaxed from her safe zone so that she can see herself in a new way. Vashti is so convinced that she can't draw that she refuses to even try. Her sassy response to her teacher's encouragement is to make a pencil dot on her paper. The wise teacher frames the dot art, inspiring Vashti to create a whole collection of dots-different colors, various sizes, creative arrangements-that are then featured in a school art show. The story comes full circle when Vashti encourages an admirer to just try, treating him in the same way that the teacher treated her. While the theme of this story is not new, the treatment is refreshing. The simple text is presented in what appears to be real handwriting, and the illustrations are uncluttered watercolor and ink creations. There is a warm feeling to this sto y that may inspire readers to tackle something tough. Recommended. Carol Lynch, Ph.D., Teacher, Medary Elementary, Columbus, Ohio © 2004 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 October #3
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. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2003 November
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 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2004 October
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 Reed Business Information.