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The Dot


4.20  ·  Rating details ·  27,315 ratings  ·  1,630 reviews
With a simple, witty story and free-spirited illustrations, Peter H. Reynolds entices even the stubbornly uncreative among us to make a mark -- and follow where it takes us.

Her teacher smiled. "Just make a mark and see where it takes you."

Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle in
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 15th 2003 by Candlewick Press
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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  27,315 ratings  ·  1,630 reviews

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David Schaafsma
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, picturebooks
Her teacher smiled. "Just make a mark and see where it takes you."

One of two great Peter Reynolds books on art lying around this house. I liked Ish better, but they make the same basic point that you have to be yourself and follow your own path to creativity. Vashti can't draw, hates it, and so at her teacher's urging, she begins with a dot, stops right there, signs it as her teacher suggests, and the teacher frames it. Vashti is suddenly dissatisfied with her dot and so tries different approach
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that makes me unaccountably teary when I read it.

About kids and creativity. Highly recommended.
Archit Ojha
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebooks
"Please... Sign It."

The Dot is a self-confidence story of a little girl Veshti who is upset and angry that she cannot draw anything. Her teacher helps her out and how!
Everyone who are dealing with kids who feel a bit low at any point of their lives about any field, should grab this one immediately.

Highly recommended!
Full stars!
Mar 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 t ...more
Renée Paule
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
Wonderful and inspiring little book.
Feb 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: art, picture
Vashti thinks she is no good at art, but an encouraging teacher helps her to enjoy herself. The teacher's approach seemed more focused on self-esteem than actual art skills, but I guess that's more the more important thing for young kids.

This was cute, and I liked the bit at the end with Vashti encouraging another child, but there are several similar books I think are better, including the same author's Ish.
Dec 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Katie
Another delightful story by Reynolds, in a very similar vein as Ish (which I absolutely adored!).

Here we find a young child who "Can't draw" anything. Supposedly. But when the teacher gets our protagonist to draw a dot and then "sign it" - well, one thing leads to another and the dots become more and more elaborate.

This is a great book to inspire creativity in kids who think they "can't" something. If the beauty of art is in the eye of the beholder, then this illustrates that so long as you're e
La Coccinelle
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
I'm sure we all know someone (or we are someone) who says they can't draw. In this story, Vashti is one of those people. She thinks she can't draw, so she doesn't even try... until her teacher gets her to start with a dot. Just a dot.

That might've been the end of it, except that the teacher frames Vashti's piece and hangs it on the wall. Thinking she can do much better than a simple dot, Vashi gets out her paints and begins to experiment. Eventually, she gains the confidence to help inspire othe
Featured in today's grandma reads session. . .

Well-received - message suggests disengaging from refusals to move forward on actions in which actor feels they have failed to achieve the goal. In the moment thereafter, just TRY SOMETHING and whatever happens: own it. Act on any subsequent sparks, and be amazed at the freedom those actions allow. . .enjoy the happy surprises. Encourage others, pass on the joy.

Sweet story, message and art.

4 stars!
Ivonne Rovira
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivonne by: David Bruns
The Dot is a children’s picture book — but, like the dot that begins this story, it’s so, so much more. Adults will love The Dot — and its message of encouraging learning and passing the love of learning. and of art, on — even more than children will. Truly a book for all ages!
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids, read-in-2020
This is a kid's book but it's pretty fun.

SPOILER: The idea is roughly that a kid doesn't want to do any art, and just makes a dot, which the teacher frames. Ok, it’s more magical than that of course, but you will have to read it.

It's a powerful statement. Surely, I needed to hear this at age 18 or 28 as much as I did when I was 8.

I suspect that parents will enjoy the sentiment even more than their children, but it is still a fun idea, and is a good prompt for kids to create their own art. Simp
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Check out more Picture book reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

Vashti doesn't believe she can draw, when her art teacher urges her to just make a dot and sign her name it changes Vashti's entire view of herself and others.

I wasn't sure I liked this story as I read it with my nephew. He'd read it before in school and was excited to read it again. We did the audio narration that was part of the ebook and as I listened I found myself quite captured. My nephew chose Vashti's art show as his drawin
Nov 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: budding artists, frustrated artists, teachers of all subjects, fans of "Ish"
I'm not sure I liked this one quite as much as "Ish" but that could just be because I read "Ish" first and was so refreshed by the story encouraging a child's artistic freedom and creativity. Still, I will give this one five stars for the same purpose! ;-) It's amazing how art can blossom from a dot!
Felicite Reads
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
What a fun book! I found an art project that goes along with this book and am excited to try it with the seniors I work with for senior story hour and for folks who attend one of the memory cafes I host. Looks fun! Such an inspiring book for all ages.
Lisa Vegan
Mar 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: art teachers, teachers, parents, kids, adults, creative types & those who think they aren’t
Recommended to Lisa by: Luann
I had just read the book Ish, also by this author/illustrator, and then was alerted to this book, which was published first.

I think that I might like Ish slightly more, but only very slightly. This is a wonderful book too.

This is an attractive book. The author hand lettered the text and illustrated the book with watercolor, ink, and tea. Yes, tea! Painting with tea is so clever! I like modern art and I enjoyed the illustrations.

The story is what art should be about, it’s how art should be taugh
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Add The Dot to my list of favorite books! As someone who can regularly be heard denouncing any ability to draw, stay inside the lines of coloring pages, or paint something that doesn’t result in a murky blob, Peter Reynolds’ simple fable about personal creativity and artistic acceptance has filled me with hope.

Vashti believes she cannot draw, but when her teacher gently tells her to “just make a mark,” she jabs at a blank sheet of paper and signs her name. The next week, her art teacher has fra
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Read this one when it came in to the library as a return today.

At the end of class, Vashti is still sitting in her desk with a blank sheet of paper and no idea what to draw. Her teacher tells her to just make a mark and see where it takes her. So she takes a breath and makes a single dot in the center of her paper. Her teacher responds, "sign it, please." The next day the picture is framed on the teacher's wall. Inspired, Vashti becomes a fantastic artist using ... dots. At the end, a little bo
Rashanda Ravenel
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is helpful in initiating creativity of a student who may need some help getting inspired. It encourages peer interaction and social skills. It is a testimony to children learning differently and being inspired in different ways. It makes me think on how important it is to build from children's current level by changing the teaching method to meet their needs.
Zoe Hickey
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is a brilliant book to read to children before diving in to an art lesson. It shows children how art is a subject that everyone can have a go at! This would give less confident children a boost of confidence and make them feel able to give things a go in art. This message could also be applied to other subjects, which makes this book applicable to lots of lessons and to every year group.
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It's an amazing book & I recommend it to everybody, especially those who work with children.

It just gives courage to children & is sure to empower them & make them creative..


I enjoyed it..
Kirsti Call
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm really enjoying Peter Reynold's books! This is clever, simple and whimsical.
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Children Who Think They Aren't Artistic & the Adults in Their Lives
Frustrated at her inability to get anything onto her paper in art class, Vashti informs her teacher that she simply can't draw, only to be met with kind but firm encouragement to "make her mark." Reacting with defiance, Vashti takes her marker and makes a single dot on the white page. Surprised when she returns to art class the next week and discovers that her "picture" has been framed and hung on the wall, Vashti is inspired to play with the idea of the dot, eventually creating a number of inte ...more
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I like this book. First, Vashti did not know how to draw. Her teacher asked her to make a mark and sign her name.Vashti signed her name. Then Vashti found her teacher put her picture in a frame. Vashti thought she could make better dot, so she grabbed her watercolors and painted with brushes all kinds of beautiful dots. Other people think those dots all great. A boy said she is a great artist, and he can’t draw. Vashti asked the boy to draw a line and the little boy draw a curvy line. Vashti ask ...more
Cynthia Egbert
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, own-and-read
I am going to head to the bookshop tomorrow and pick a copy of this sweet fable for myself. What a powerful story and I can relate to dear Vashti so much right now. I may actually make this part of my daily reading for a time. I cannot recommend this one highly enough. If we just make a dot, just a start, we can move towards our strength and our mission.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Really good book to make children feel more confident about taking part in art.
Rosie Mulholland
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Highlights that all children are capable to achieve tasks which they may not feel confident about. The way in which a child is encouraged to create art and in fact any other piece of work, can totally change attitudes to learning.
Linda Gill
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This hand-lettered book, the first in the series "Creatrilogy," is all about encouragement of artistic self-expression. Vashti doesn't believe she has any ability to create. With a small invitation to "just make a mark and see where it takes you" by her teacher, she begins a journey that leads to art that is all her own.

The creativity in each of us needs encouraging. I truly know that. From just a word, a push, a smile, blossoms can bloom. It is not just about drawing or painting either. Writin
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. It is useful to teach so many things.

Quick overview: A student, Vashti, who does not want to do her artwork because she believes she cannot draw, simply turns in a single dot for her project. After appreciation and encouragement from her teacher about the artwork, Vashti starts experimenting with her art. She creates a gallery of "dot" art. In the end she shows off her work and even passes her wisdom to a fan of her art.

This book is great for the students and the teac
Mar 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
From School Library Journal: -"Just make a mark and see where it takes you." This sage advice, offered by her intuitive, intelligent teacher, sets our young heroine on a journey of self-expression, artistic experimentation, and success. First pictured as being enveloped by a blue-and-gray miasma of discouragement and dejection, Vashti seems beaten by the blank paper before her. It is her defeatist declaration, "I just CAN'T draw," that evokes her teacher's sensitive suggestion. Once the child ta ...more
Alex Alfaro
I thought it was interesting that a book focusing on art has such simple illustrations. Like the tone of the story, the illustrations slowly get brighter and more colorful, but for the most part, they are simple and gray. The book starts off with a frustrated student who thinks that she is bad at art. However, instead of telling Vashti that her work will improve, Vashti’s art teacher accepts the simple dot that she drew, asks Vashti to sign it, and then frames her artwork. By framing Vashti’s wo ...more
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Peter Hamilton Reynolds is an author and illustrator of children's books and is the co-Founder and CEO of educational media company FableVision.

Other books in the series

Creatrilogy (3 books)
  • Ish
  • Sky Color

News & Interviews

  Justin A. Reynolds burst onto the YA scene last year with his debut book Opposite of Always, a heartfelt novel about love and friendship...
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“Just make a mark and see where it takes you” 16 likes
“Hmmph! I can make a better dot than THAT!” 3 likes
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