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5.0 2
by Erica S. Perl

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It’s Ida’s first day of school. She carries her new lunch box and a long, blue string with her special friend Dotty attached to it. A big, colorfully spotted pal with horns, Dotty just happens to be invisible. On that first day of school, Ida and Dotty find out there are plenty of other imaginary friends in attendance. But as the year passes and fewer


It’s Ida’s first day of school. She carries her new lunch box and a long, blue string with her special friend Dotty attached to it. A big, colorfully spotted pal with horns, Dotty just happens to be invisible. On that first day of school, Ida and Dotty find out there are plenty of other imaginary friends in attendance. But as the year passes and fewer and fewer imaginary friends come to class, Ida begins to wonder if Dotty is welcome at school anymore . . .

Perceptive and warmly funny, with charming art from exciting illustrator Julia Denos, Dotty is a celebration of the power of friendship and imagination.


"Denos’ colorful, stylish, mixed-media illustrations emphasize the sweetness, discovery, and common worries that come with leaving home and entering the wide world of school for the first time. An appealing story that merits repeat visits." —Booklist 

"Denos's paintings are an unadulterated delight." —Publishers Weekly 

"A charmer." —Kirkus Reviews 

"This enjoyable tale of maturing at one’s own pace and on one’s own terms will resonate with children and parents alike." —School Library Journal 

"This picture book will help young students overcome their nervousness and realize that everyone needs a friend. It would be a wonderful opening day read-aloud." —Library Media Connection

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Ida starts school in the fall, she's just one of many kids in Ms. Raymond's class who comes with an imaginary friend in tow. But by springtime, only Ida's Dotty--a huge, horned, spotted bovine creature--is left; everyone else has moved on. "You don't still HAVE her, do you?" asks Katya, flaunting her newfound maturity (this is the same Katya who at one time had a imaginary spiderlike creature named Keekoo that liked swinging on her braids). Perl's (Chicken Butt!) brisk, reportorial prose allows her to be sympathetic to her holdout heroine without over-romanticizing her or discounting the progress of her peers. Denos's (My Little Girl) paintings are an unadulterated delight, combining the naïf styling of scribbly children's drawings for the creatures and the easy, playful elegance of pattern book illustrations from the 1950s. But the ending, which reveals that the pretty, poised Ms. Raymond still has an imaginary friend of her own, may divide readers struggling with their own maturation. Does that make her cool--or a case of arrested development? Ages 4-8. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Ida loves Dotty, her 24/7 companion. So, it makes perfect sense for her to take the unusual creature along to kindergarten. She is not the only one in her class with an invisible (imaginary) pet. Max, Benny, and Katya all bring their pets, too. Time passes. By the time they return from the winter holidays, Katya has all but given up her pet, saying they are "for babies." More time passes. Ida finds she is the only one bringing an invisible pet to school—or is she? Playground teasing about Dotty leads to an unpleasant confrontation with her classmates—and a pleasant revelation from another. Perl's story of imaginative play and elementary school strife seems quite realistic, ending in the very best way possible. Readers will thrill in the details of Denos' illustrations, from the "dots" adorning each of Ida's outfits to the subject matter of the classroom artwork. If you share this book as a read-aloud in a classroom setting, be prepared for lively discussion of what exactly Dotty is—Cow? Bull? Lion? Rhinoceros? It does not matter much to the story, but it is fun to speculate! Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
Gr 1—When Ida starts school, she brings along her invisible friend, as do many of her peers. Each one embodies some aspect of the child it has bonded with. In Ida's case, it's her anger. As winter flows into spring, Ida realizes that she is the only child still bringing her special friend to school. When Katya teases her about Dotty, Ida (Dotty) shoves her and gets into trouble. Staying after school, Ida discovers that her teacher also has an invisible friend she still brings to school. Denos's illustrations subtly show the characters and the seasons changing, and the pressures of growing up. The text is best suited for one-on-one reading as the pictures have hidden nuggets of information for those who look carefully. This enjoyable tale of maturing at one's own pace and on one's own terms will resonate with children and parents alike.—Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH

Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.80(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.46(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Erica S. Perl is the author of Chicken Bedtime Is Really Early and Chicken Butt! She lives in Washington, D.C. Visit her online at www.ericaperl.com.

Julia Denos studied illustration at the Art Institute of Boston and has published several acclaimed books for young readers. She lives in Quincy, Massachusetts. Visit her online at www.juliadenos.com.

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Dotty 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
Did you ever have an invisible friend? It is Ida's first day of school. She takes her new lunch box and Dotty, her imaginary friend with horns and bright red spots. Other kids have special friends too, like Max's non-identical twins Pete and Repeat, Benny's buddy Spike with razor sharp teeth, and Katya's chattering Keekoo. But after winter holidays, Katya says that Keekoo is "for babies," though she still keeps her in her pocket. And by spring term, Ida is the only one who still brings someone. Her classmates start teasing her about Dotty, and Ida begins to wonder if Dotty is welcome any longer. Dotty is so angry that she even pushes Katya. Is there anything that Ida's teacher Ms. Raymond can do to help? Many children have imaginary friends. I know that I did when I was small, and both of my boys did too. Many youngsters also have back to school jitters, and author Erica S. Perl's relatable story will help to quell those jitters. And the colorful brush ink illustrations by Julia Denos will help young readers or listeners to visualize the events. Dotty is a story about imagination and loyalty that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt reluctant to part with an imaginary friend. I found it to be a charming picture book that children will enjoy.
NYC_Mom More than 1 year ago
Both my daughters (7 and 10) loved the story, though they may be a little older than the target demographic, they were both touched by the story of Ida and her imaginary friend Dotty. It is about growing up and the conflict that takes place as children start to let go to their childhood but realize its the best time they'll ever have. A charming friend like Dotty should convince any kid not to "grow up" too fast! The illustrations and sparkly cover are a gorgeous plus.