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Review: Dotty by Erica S. Perl

By Erica S. Perl
Illustrated by Julia Denos
ISBN: 9780810989627
Grades PreK-1
In Stores

Travis: Introducing today’s guest reviewer, my old imaginary friend.

Greetings! Yes, I’m Travis’s old imaginary friend, Aquadog. You can imagine my shock when T called me up after all these years to review Dotty, a picture book that hits close to home (it being about imaginary friends and all). I’m pretty glad he did. I took a liking to this story, and youngsters with creative minds likely will too.

I suppose a summary is in order, right? A new school year is beginning and the dark-haired Ida heads to class with her horned and hairy imaginary friend, Dotty. But it tuns out Ida isn’t alone in bringing a pal from home – other classmates have imaginary friends as well. As the year progresses, however, Ida’s friends begin to let go of their imaginary beasts. It isn’t long before they begin to make fun of Ida for sticking with Dotty. After a run-in with a classmate lands her in trouble with the teacher, Ida finds that maybe she shouldn’t rush to show Dotty the door – sometimes even grownups like to keep an imaginary companion around.

Erica S. Perl (switching gears here after the riotous Chicken Butt!) handles the theme of growing up with care. Scenes of classmates teasing Ida for her reluctance to give up her “babyish” ways will ring true with many young readers.

Look, I may just be a figment of someones imagination, but I know solid illustration when I see it. Julia Denos’s brush ink illustrations are vivid, sketchy, and angular, giving off a modern vibe. They suit the text well and should do wonders for the Dotty‘s shelf appeal.

Basically, what we’ve got is a story about growing up, well-executed. Speaking as an expert on imaginary friendship, you’ll do well to add this to your collection.

Review copy from publisher

Read an excellent interview with illustrator Julie Denos at Mishaps and Adventures.

Also reviewed by The Orange Room.

Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.

(“Aquadog” image: ‘aqua doggie’ http://www.flickr.com/photos/84953274@N00/30819335)

(Cover and interior images: Mishaps and Adventures)

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.