inspire creativity in your child

September 14, 2009

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

This book is sure to be loved by art teachers everywhere--a little girl named Vashti is certain she cannot draw. She sits and stares at her paper until her art teacher comes up and urges her to, "Just make a mark and see where it takes you." 

Vashti, still believing she cannot draw, grabs a marker and makes a dot on the paper. "There!" she says. 

Her teacher picks up the paper, studies it, then hands it back to Vashti and says, "Now sign it."

The next week, when Vashti walks into art class, she is surprised to see her dot picture framed and hanging above her teacher's desk. Seeing it hanging there makes her think that she can do better than that, so she begins to work on painting an even better dot than her first one. 

She paints and draws dots of all sorts, red, yellow, blue, green, big small, etc. Her dot exhibition at the school art show a few weeks later has everyone admiring her work. 

While at the art show, a little boy says to her, "You're a really great artist. I wish I could draw." And Vashti, the now accomplished artist, hands him a sheet of paper and tells him to draw something. He manages a tiny squiggle and hands it to Vashti. She studies it carefully, before handing it back to him and says, "Sign it." 

I think I like books like these because they celebrate that idea that everyone can be creative and express themselves through art.  I hope that Juliet grows up knowing that art is not just for "people that can draw." Here's a recent masterpiece that is hanging in my home.  
I like asking Juliet what she has drawn--she always comes up with something unexpected. I think this one was called, "A Little Crashing Sound."

Activity Ideas
Peter H. Reynolds has his own website dedicated to The Dot. In it you will find some great dot-inspired activity ideas  to use with your child. Also, are some questions and answers about the book answered by the author himself. 

Gift Ideas
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds--I think this would be a great gift for any child, but also as a gift to a new art teacher about to begin her first school year.  

It would even be great for an art teacher who has been doing the teaching thing for a long time now and needs a little reminder of the wonderful influence she has been having on all her students over the years.

Maybe your child really loved his art teacher this year--this would be such a thoughtful end of the year gift. 

The author says that he met a little girl one day whose name was Vashti. He asked if he could use her name in his next book--and he did! I've never met a Vashti, but if you know one, she should definitely have this book! 

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