Wednesday, July 7, 2004

The Dot

Reynolds, Peter. 2003. THE DOT. Massachusetts: Candlewick Press. ISBN 0763619612 [Suggested Grade Levels K-5]

Vashti is convinced she is not an artist until her art teacher says, “Just make a mark.” Vashti makes her attitudinized mark on her paper, signs it, and turns it in to her teacher. When Vashti enters the art room for the next lesson, she discovers that her art teacher has framed and displayed her masterpiece. This kind spirited act encourages Vashti to explore her artistic abilities. She paints a rainbow of dots, makes little dots into a large dot, and even makes a dot by not painting a dot. With her new found ability, she is able to encourage others to make their mark.

This is a book for all those children who say, “I can’t,” or “I wish I could.” This is a fallaciously simple picture book that delves deep into the psyche to encourage what is already inside. The dot is illustrated with ink and watercolors to continue with the simplistic structure of the book. The change of colors change along with Vashti’s moods. As she sits irritably in front of the blank page, the gray and blue hues create a sad blanket over the page. And when she finally decides to make a mark, the red-orange colors slam down vertically with her pen. As her attitude changes so do the colors and hues. The colors and hues become bright and light as does Vashti’s disposition. This book may be a child’s first step to taking a chance or trying something new and challenging.


Read the story to students to show them that they can do things that they think they cannot.

Students make their own mark and create a picture using only that mark.

Students can cut out 4 to 5 different shapes out of colored construction paper. These shapes are their own creations. Using only these 4 or 5 shapes, have students design a picture on white construction paper. Students can then explain why they chose these shapes. There is no set design students have to follow. It if free form!


Other stories about the value of an inspiration:
Browne, Anthony. WILLY THE DREAMER. AISN 0763618837
Cohen, Miriam. NO GOOD IN ART. ISBN 0688842348
Moss, Marissa. REGINA’S BIG MISTAKE. ISBN 039555330X

By Jill Howell

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