Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Dot
  • Alternative view 1 of The Dot
  • Alternative view 2 of The Dot
  • Alternative view 3 of The Dot
<Previous >Next

The Dot

4.6 20
by Peter H. Reynolds

See All Formats & Editions

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


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.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
This small gem of a book tells the story of Vashti...and a marvelous lesson about what art is.—Elizabeth Ward
Publishers Weekly
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.
Children's Literature
Here is a short, simple book that says so much. Vashti sits with a blank piece of paper in art class and says, "I just can't draw." The teacher asks her to "make a mark and see where it takes you." Vashti jabs the paper and makes a dot; her teacher asks her to sign it. The next day, Vashti sees her dot "All framed in swirly gold!" From there Vashti explores her creativity (which is not how our children will put it, they will just say, "she's making a lot of pretty dots." Reynolds inspires others and finishes with an "aww" ending that just makes you want to hug the book. This is NOT a treacly message book, it is a sweet, accessible story that resonates for all ages. 2003, Candlewick Press, Ages 5 to 8.
— Sharon Levin
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-This is a dual-text version of a story of a little girl who emphatically states that she can't draw. Her wise teacher tells her to "Just make a mark and see where it takes you." After Vashi jabs a dot on her paper, the teacher urges her to then sign it. The next day Vashi arrives at school to find that it has been framed and hung. She is encouraged to create more watercolor dot paintings, and they are subsequently displayed in an art show. When a boy admires her work, she, in turn, encourages his efforts. The braille translation is accurate but the weight of the heavy board-book pages has caused the raised dots to be mashed down in places. This lack of uniformity makes it more difficult for braille readers to decipher. The book includes a glossary with an explanation of the contractions that appear in bold text in the book. The glossary itself isn't brailled, but perhaps it's not necessary, since the book is for more advanced readers. Unfortunately, only the text is translated into braille, so the impact of Reynolds's colorful, free-spirited watercolor illustrations, particularly Vashi's contributions to the art show, are going to be lost on nonsighted readers. However, the idea of encouraging the creative spirit in all children is still evident.-Sharon Rawlins, NJ Library for the Blind and Handicapped, Trenton Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
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)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Creatrilogy Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.42(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.30(d)
AD500L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 Months to 17 Years

Meet the Author

Peter H. Reynolds was a reluctant reader but an incessant doodler as a child. "I often visit classrooms and ask who loves to draw," he says. "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." The illustrator of the Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald, Peter H. Reynolds was recently honored as Literacy Leader of the Year by Verizon. He is the president and creative director of FableVision Studios.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Dot 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On the surface, this book appears to encourage the budding artist who thinks his/her talent is not adequate. But it is much more- it is a voice for all those square pegs in round holes, who have gifts to give, but believe those gifts to be insufficient or incorrect. I recommend this book for ALL ages - this would make a great high school or college graduation gift. Note the dedication - to a 7th grade math teacher, not an art teacher. We should all listen to that someone in our lives who believes in who we are and what we can become.
Artinnj More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I am an art teacher and have used it to help children get "unstuck" and to create a cooperative atmosphere.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book reveals the character of a WISE teacher!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi, its me again... look, i just want to know how beautiful that book is and how i can teach from it... maybe even i might learn something!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
dhender More than 1 year ago
Dot offers a refreshing look into a child's mind and helps them to build their own self-esteem. When the art teacher shows the children that anything can be art they start to see things in different perspectives. Classroom teachers can use this book to open children eyes and see that they can do anything and that it will be special.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a charming story about a girl who doesn't want to try being encouraged to try and succeed. Great at reinforcing the 'try and do your best' attitude!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Absolutely beautiful and gentle way to show children (and adults) that not only is ANYTHING possible, but that ANYTHING can be great depending on how you look at it. The artwork is like the story, it is simple, but proves the point clearly. My favorite children's book!
CocoaGA More than 1 year ago
Ordered this book for some "graduates" to PreK last spring and decided I had to have it for my class library too. The book arrived in time to use it for the annual Dot Day celebration Sept 15. The experience was incredible. My three to four year olds "got it" and were totally into trying any aspect of art that day. The book has been a wonderful jumping off point and has almost eliminated the "I can't" so common at this age. If you teach 3 -4's you have to have this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
In addition to all the praise other reviewers have given, the artwork is enchanting. So simple, reminiscent of Shel Silverstein. This book is loved by my 2 year-old and my 42 year-old (husband!) alike.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am studying to get my degree in Elementary and Special Education and in my literacy method class our instructor read us this book. This book can be used as a motivator for any child who uses those famous words 'I can't' because it shows the child how one girl feels she cannot draw and how she becomes an 'artist'. This is one book that I will definately have in my classroom library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My Child Development teacher read this book in class last night and I just had to add it to my library. It is such an inspirational piece of work. I am looking forward to purchasing other books by this author. This book will forever change how I look at a child's artwork.