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Theresa Stephens
Introducing Dot
Introducing Dot is an early learning book that teaches children about preschool and gives them the confidence to be successful in the activities that they will engage in during the day. The book is simple, fun, and innovative in the way that it teaches life skills without the pages inside of the book referencing or alluding to social status, economic status, gender status, religious preferences or sexual preferences. The character Dot has a sense of humor that will appeal to all ages and encourage children from all cultures and backgrounds to want to learn to read and participate in the world around them .
Dot is a circular figure who goes to school and partakes in the activities to be found in preschool, such as dress-up, singing, and coloring in this short, sweet, and pointedly minimalist early reader for those going into preschool themselves. Large text and extremely simple digital illustrations—the pages are mostly white space, with a black dot, a line of text, and usually one more small element— assist readers in decoding the short text and reinforces what the text says, walking readers through a day in the life of Dot, offering what is essentially a list of activities. The text “Dot Sings” finds the dot with musical notes; “Dot makes new friends” finds the dot in the orbit of plenty more dots. Adults looking to familiarize soon-to-be preschoolers and burgeoning readers with some basics about school may find this helpful.

The book is abstract, the illustrations less emblematic of traditional picture-book storytelling than a collection of graphics more rudimentary than emojis. The titular black circle is generally positioned in the middle of the page, clearly the star of the show, with icons (like grapes for snack time or a cute cowboy hat for dress-up fun) positioned nearby. These simple images convey the activity, but without much in the way of artistry—the effect is something like early computer art from a dot matrix printer. The dot is by design inexpressive, lacking facial expressions, likely making it a challenge to relate to.

Nonetheless, Introducing Dot deep simplicity can be a virtue for the right audience, as it has the potential to be easily understood by the youngest of readers, and the ample white space and general sense of upbeat abstraction offers plenty of room for imagination on the reader’s part. Introducing Dot can be expanded upon or appreciated as the first stepping stone on the way to more reading and schooling adventures.

Takeaway: Minimalist introduction to reading and preschool for early readers.

Comparable Titles: Debora Vogrig and Pia Valentinis’s Line and Scribble, Laura Ljungkvist’s A Line Can Be.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: C+
Editing: A
Marketing copy: B