Book Review- ‘The Dot’ by Peter Reynolds

Book Review- ‘The Dot’ by Peter Reynolds

Title: The Dot
Author: Peter H. Reynolds
  • Publisher: Walker Books (4 October 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844281698
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844281695
  • Number of Pages: 32
Price [INR] : 401 {Paperback}
Genre: Picture Book
What the book is about:
For anyone who has been afraid to express themselves – from a child in art class to an adult whose fear has shut down a long-held dream, Peter H. Reynolds‘ book The Dot (Candlewick Press) is there to remind us all to “Make your mark, and see where it takes you.”
On a recent trip to Mumbai, a friend of mine handed me this book and said that it is one book that every child and every parent must read. The book had just 32 pages and it was a picture book, so it took me hardly any time to flip through it.
Story overview:

The book opens with a child, Vashti, sitting in a classroom, head bent and a sorrowful expression on her face. There is a blank sheet of paper on the table before her and the Art teacher looks at it and says, ‘Ah, a polar bear in a sandstorm!’

Vashti gets grumpy and responds with a wry ‘Very funny! I just can’t draw!’

Then comes this line of the teacher: ‘Just make a mark and see where it takes you.’

In frustration, Vashti stabs the paper with her marker and makes a single dot. The teacher looks at the dot quietly for a few seconds. She then asks Vashti to sign the paper.

Vashti is stupefied and goes home to continue drawing dots. Her obsession spills over to paints and she starts drawing over and over, until she has filled up every space with dots.

The rest of this short book captures what happens when Vashti has an audience for her work.

My review:
 
The first thing that caught my eye was the name of the protagonist, Vashti. It was sufficiently intriguing and I am yet to learn where Reynolds got the inspiration for the name.
Vashti’s frustration is something we can identify with, often with our children and at times, ourselves. The word “can’t” can be so emasculating.
That line,’Just make a mark and see where it takes you,’ was so beautiful that it made me smile. Teachers need to inspire, motivate and encourage. That is exactly what she was doing. I am sure you also noticed the hidden intent behind that statement. In order to make a mark, you don’t really need to make a splash.
The manner in which Vashti is encouraged to explore the artist within, the need to break free of the limitations of our minds and explore the creative impulse deep within- these are the lessons that every person- adult and child- can learn from this book.

I personally loved the book and so did my 7-year-old. It is a book you can pick up every week and flip through, to encourage yourself or another. It motivates children to look for the dormant talent in their being. Something as simple as a dot on a piece of paper is enough to make you feel special about yourself.

My rating: 5/ 5

Where can you buy this book?
It is available on Amazon.in here: The Dot and on Flipkart here: The Dot
Disclaimer:
Each Saturday or Sunday, this blog will have a review of a book or a movie or a product suitable for children  or parents. If you have an item for review, please contact me using this page.
Please note that the views expressed here are solely that of the author. She has no affiliation to any product or item reviewed here.

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20 thoughts on “Book Review- ‘The Dot’ by Peter Reynolds

  1. This looks like a book for children and adults alike…we all need to be reminded sometimes that all it takes to start something is a point, a Bindu as is said in our ancient scriptures. Reading this review, and especially the title of this book reminds me of the series of paintings on the theme of Bindu by S. H. Raza. Thanks Shailaja for sharing it!

  2. Wonderful message via a great medium! Very nice review, Shailaja! I love the teacher for being so encouraging! Looking forward to your regular book review feature

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