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DOT by Patricia Intriago


by Patricia Intriago & illustrated by Patricia Intriago

Age Range: 2 - 4

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-374-31835-2
Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Unexpected bright spots and laughs roll right over the uneven text in this concept piece.

In bold yellow on a glossy blue background, a clean shape introduces itself: “Dot.” Next are “Stop dot” and “Go dot,” predictably red and green. A “[l]oud” Pac-man–esque dot sits across from its “quiet” counterpart, which is similar but has a tiny mouth. A dot missing a jagged bite is “yummy,” while its partner, similarly bitten but with the bite lying nearby as if spit out, “tastes bad.” Weaker pairs glean definition only through heavy-handed contrast. Some dots are abstract: A shy dot’s mostly missing, as if hiding behind a white square, but because the background’s also white, the square must be inferred. The delightful bits are Intriago’s mid-book leaps away from her own setup. Out of the blue, photographed human hands appear to poke a hard and a soft dot, and “Got dots”—a Dalmatian photo—contrasts with “Not dots”—a zebra. These diversions are surprisingly funny. The weakness here is text, which vacillates between rhyming/scanning completely and not, with one glaring miss: “Stop dot / Go dot // Slow dot / fast dot” yearns to swap “slow” and “fast” for the rhyme.

Verse wonkiness leaves an opening for youngsters to “read” to their adults by simply naming dots—no harm there. (Picture book. 2-4)