|About the Book|
The problem with an old teacher is she has so many experiences that connect to almost anything anywhere anytime. And The Dot reminds me of a time when I was teaching first graders, and I encouraged them to paint. I gave them each of the primary colors one color at a time. The day I gave them two was the day of discovery, like the girl in the book. But more importantly, to the chagrin of the principal, I displayed all paintings. Each little artist enjoyed the experience from the girl who drew a two-dimensional drawing of house with flower garden and, yes, the white picket fence, to the boy who just let red cover the whole paper and a little of the floor. Unlike the perceptive teacher in Reynolds’ story, the principal told me not to hang it- the parents would be embarrassed. That was early in my career, and to this day I remember that as a defining moment. I KNEW I was philosophically oriented to a student-centered. If I ever see this principal, later superintendent, again…well. Back to the book.Reynolds’ simple lines, hand lettering, and water color and tea illustrations make this a charming book of primitive art. His illustration style matches the text, the story, and the theme.The representational realistic characters remind me of the illustrations Parker did for Action Jackson. When Vashti grabs the marker and makes her dot, it is like Jackson’s movements around his huge canvas. I noticed the transition from the limited dark colors at the beginning to the bright sun-colored dot to the double-page spread for the mulit-colored art show at towards the end. And of course all pictures are made with dots and lines, so the introduction of the new artist experimenting with line is apropos. Reynolds’ use of the white space to encircle the child helped set the tone of being alone, closed in, and unsure of herself.The hand lettering is close enough to a child’s writing that it fit the story. It was spread out enough to be readable and childlike enough to look like the child’s diary or journal. The balance between text and picture telling the story led my eye through both to understand.In addition to the art, hand lettering, and use of white space, Reynolds’ appreciation, respect, and empathy for children and their potential is illustrated in this book. A must for the collector who needs a reminder of the promises and potential of children.