The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics

Overview

Once upon a time there was a sensible straight line who was hopelessly in love with a beautiful dot. But the dot, though perfect in every way, only had eyes for a wild and unkempt squiggle. All of the line's romantic dreams were in vain, until he discovered...angles! Now, with newfound self-expression, he can be anything he wants to be—a square, a triangle, a parallelogram....And that's just the beginning!First published in 1963 and made into an Academy Award-winning animated short film, here is a supremely witty...

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Overview

Once upon a time there was a sensible straight line who was hopelessly in love with a beautiful dot. But the dot, though perfect in every way, only had eyes for a wild and unkempt squiggle. All of the line's romantic dreams were in vain, until he discovered...angles! Now, with newfound self-expression, he can be anything he wants to be—a square, a triangle, a parallelogram....And that's just the beginning!First published in 1963 and made into an Academy Award-winning animated short film, here is a supremely witty love story with a twist that reveals profound truths about relationships—both human and mathematical—sure to tickle lovers of all ages.

A straight line falls in love with a dot and develops his talents to form all kinds of geometric shapes in order to win her affections.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Originally published in 1963, and back just in time for Valentine's Day, The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics by Norton Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth) once again bursts on the scene. Using only black and red, Juster tells the poignant yet humorous tale of a straight line in love with a red dot, and the line's attempts to woo her away from a slothful squiggle. Much merriment will be had by all before the hero gets his girl. ; Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
A sensible straight line falls "hopelessly" in love with a frivolous red dot. She prefers a wild, uninhibited squiggle. The pun-filled, mock serious text takes us into his dreams, as he tries to "express the inner passionate me." He becomes able to make all sorts of geometric shapes "so complex that he had to letter his sides and angles to keep his place." The dot is overwhelmed, leaving the "anarchy and sloth" of the squiggle behind to go off with the line, to live "if not happily ever after, at least reasonably so." The red dot and black-and-white lines are presented and manipulated in ways that visualize the verbal humor, isolated in metamorphoses or integrated into reproductions of pictures of various kinds, with the dot offering the only touch of color. The resulting images play delightfully with the tongue-in-cheek words in this small format of fun. 2001 (orig. 1963), SeaStar Books/North-South Books. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587170669
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 228,173
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 13, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Love transcends all.

    A beautiful love story about a line that overcomes normality to win the heart of his love the dot. A perfect love story for anyone who knows math.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2001

    Wonderful 'Punny' Look at Life, Love, Shapes and Math

    Chances are that you know the author, Norman Juster, from his outstanding book, 'The Phantom Tollbooth.' What many people don't realize is that he created this classic book also in 1968, which was turned into an Academy Award winning short film. This book is a delight at many levels, providing the perfect opportunity for adults and children to read and discuss together. For although this book is indicated for the 4-8 year old group, younger children will love it, too, and the ideas in it are fascinating for adults. So, you should probably think of this as a book for 'children of all ages.' You can read this book primarily from several different perspectives. It may be easier for you child if you emphasize one at a time when you introduce the book. First, there's the classic love 'triangle' involving a line (a rather straight fellow) who falls for a circle, the circle (who's frivolous despite being perfectly identical in all directions -- 'You're the beginning and the end, the hub, the core and the quintessence . . . .'), and a messy squiggle of a line who appeals to the dot (who the dot thinks is 'gay and free, so uninhibited and full of joy'). This story line is the easiest for everyone to follow. Although the line is a rather dependable and likeable sort, he's just not interesting to the circle ('. . . and you are as stiff as a stick. Dull. Conventional and repressed. Tied and trammeled. Subdued, smothered and stiffled.'). So he goes off to 'learn new tricks' and creates the ability to make an infinite number of shapes out of his line. She's impressed, and that wins the fair maiden. The next level at which people can understand the book is to appreciate that lines can form parts of objects (like a tightrope, a lance, the equator, or a tug of war rope). If you create angles in a line, you can create all sorts of wonderful shapes from a triangle on up to very complex geometric solids. These are described by name, so this is a flying start for geometry and trigonometry later on. If you curve the line, you can create magnificent shapes of soaring grandeur. Here's where the vocabulary goes way beyond what a 4-8 year old can handle. But that's where you can be the intelligent adult who helps out. This interpretation would be wonderful for a classroom discussion also. The third level of the book relates to the mathematical expressions behind how you turn a line into a curve or create an angle. The book has the illustrations present for this interpretation, but not the discussion. If you understand how these shapes can be described mathematically, you can make that connection for your child. A good resource for this is the Logo program that children of this age can use to draw with a turtle. You could have many happy hours together writing programs to create these shapes. If you don't know Seymour Papert's books on learning (he wrote Logo), you should read 'Mindstorms' and 'The Children's Machine.' 'The Dot and the Line' would also make excellent reading in a classroom that is using Logo. The puns themselves are worth the cost of the book. I won't give you any examples because I don't want to spoil them, but some minor ones do show up in the quotes above. The puns take turns aiming in different directions to expand the perspective the reader has on words as sources of character comments, descriptions about physical characteristics, and plastic qualities. One of the great sections of the book is where the circle begins to appreciate the differences between purposeful shapes and random ones. 'And she suddenly realized that what she thought was freedom and joy was nothing but anarchy and sloth.' This is an important section because it releases the concept of mathematics as purposeful freedom to the reader. Anyone who 'gets' that message is likely to have a much easier and happier time pursuing mathematics as the delightful mental discipline that it is. If your child takes to this material, I suggest that you

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    Posted February 10, 2009

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    Posted June 22, 2010

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