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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. The Dot by Peter Reynolds is one book every parent and every child must read.

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.” {Source: Official page of The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds}

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

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Title: The Dot
Author: Peter H. Reynolds

Genre: Picture Book

  • Publisher: Walker Books (4 October 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844281698
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844281695
  • Number of Pages: 32
Red paint on a white background with text overlay that suggests every child must read the book, 'The Dot'

Categories: Review

Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


Veens @ Our Ordinary Life · June 7, 2014 at 6:09 pm

We LOVE this book too 🙂

Shailaja V · June 7, 2014 at 7:30 pm

It really is beautiful, isn't it? Thanks for visiting and welcome to my blog!

Beloo Mehra · June 8, 2014 at 7:35 am

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!

Archana K B · June 8, 2014 at 9:06 am

Thanks for the review.. Seems like this should be read by me right now, more than my daughter!!! 🙂

Shailaja V · June 8, 2014 at 9:27 am

It would certainly help to be reminded of it often, Beloo. You're welcome for the review 🙂

Shailaja V · June 8, 2014 at 9:28 am

You'll love it, Archana. It's also been made into an animated feature!

Vidya Sury · June 8, 2014 at 9:36 am

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

Nabanita · June 8, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Nice review Shailaja…I have to get back to reading myself! So much to read and so little time!


Ananya Tales · June 8, 2014 at 11:03 pm

Nice Review !

Rajlakshmi · June 9, 2014 at 5:31 am

5/5 wow!! this must be a really good book. Thanks for the review.

Soumya · June 9, 2014 at 8:33 am

5 on 5? This sounds super interesting. I shall pick this up for sure.

Thanks for sharing the review Shailaja!

Kathy Combs · June 9, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Sounds like a great book and you did an amazing job on the review! ♥

Shailaja V · June 14, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Thank you Vidya 🙂 This book really spoke to me 🙂

Shailaja V · June 14, 2014 at 5:59 pm

I hope you get time, Naba 🙂

Shailaja V · June 14, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Thanks Ananya 🙂

Shailaja V · June 14, 2014 at 6:00 pm

It really is, Raj 🙂

Shailaja V · June 14, 2014 at 6:01 pm

More than welcome, Soumya. It's a beautiful book.

Shailaja V · June 14, 2014 at 6:01 pm

That makes me very happy, Kathy:)

Sreeja Praveen · June 19, 2014 at 7:20 am

Seems very very interesting… must pick 🙂

Shailaja · September 12, 2017 at 2:32 pm


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