Monday, January 10, 2011

Review #82: Dotty

Dad:  What did you think of "Dotty"?
Isaac (age 12):  Is Dotty a cow?
Lily (age 7):  She's a bull.
Isaac:  She looks like a cow-lion.  Or a rhino-cow.
Gracie (age 10):  Dotty looks like a giant cow with purple horns and a lion's mane.  And she has dots all over.
Lily:  Dotty is an imaginary friend.  An imaginary pet.
Isaac:  The book is about a girl named Ida with a pet named Dotty that looks like a water buffalo.  I've decided that's the closest thing.
Lily:  Ida takes Dotty to school.  All the other kids in school have imaginary pets too.
Isaac:  Then they have a Christmas break, and most of the kids give up their pets.  A couple of kids still had them.  But then they have another break, and when Ida comes back, nobody even remembers their pets.  They think it's funny that Ida still has hers.
Lily:  Ida feels like a baby because she still has her imaginary friend.  Then Ida's imaginary pet bumped one of the girls that was making fun of Ida.
Dad:  Who do you think really pushed the girl?  Dotty or Ida?
Lily:  Ida did it and blamed it on her imaginary pet.
Isaac:  No.  I think Dotty really did it.
Gracie:  I think it's Ida, not the pet.  The book says the imaginary pets all have problems, but the kids are really the ones having the problems.  I'll show you...  See, that boy won't share.  It's not his pets - it's him that won't share.  And that girl right there is talking out of turn - not her pet.
Isaac:  I know that it's supposed to be the kids doing it...  But I like the idea better that the pets are doing it.  I think it's cool.
Dad:  So you choose to be like Ida...  to believe in the pets.
Isaac:  I LIKE the pets.
Dad:  Good!  Me too.
Lily:  Ida gets in trouble and has to go to the teacher's office.
Isaac:  The teacher asks Ida, "Do you want your blue leash back?"  But she accidentally gives her a red leash.  And the teacher says, "Oopsie. That's my leash."  And then she says, "Come on Gert," and the teacher had a leash that was tied to Gert.  Who is a giraffe... thing.  Like, a girraffe-pony-deer with stripes.
Lily: Then Ida feels okay because she knows someone else has an imaginary pet - someone that is way older than her.
Dad:  So, who is the author of this book?
Gracie:  Erica S. Perl.
Dad:  And what did you think of her story?
Gracie:  It's a good storyline.  It is imaginative and fun.  It's rocking.
Isaac:  It was a cool idea - it's like a whole other world, but still close enough to the real world that you don't notice.
Dad:  And who is the illustrator.
Gracie:  Julia Denos.
Dad:  And what did you think of her illustrations?
Gracie:  She has good fashion sense.
Lily:  The art is loose and sketchy.  It's awesome.  It looks like crayon, pencils, and paint.  It's a collage!
Dad:  Yep, that's called mixed-media.
Isaac:  I think she has a really good imagination in order to think of all these cool imaginary animals.  Most of the imaginary animals are kind of little, but the illustrator made Dotty bigger, so Dotty sticks out more than all the others.
Dad:  Wow - good point, Isaac!  And that ties into the story too.  Ida wants to forget about Dotty, but she can't.  Dotty is not a little fluffball that she can just shove into her pocket and ignore.
Gracie:  I like how the kids' clothes match their animals.  These two both have dots.  These guys both have stripes.  These guys have hats.  There's lots of good fashion in this book, so I like it.  Fashion is always important to me.
Dad:  A person wouldn't know that by looking at you today.
Gracie:  Yes they would.
Dad:  Maybe you and Julia Denos need to hang out and she can give you some pointers.
Gracie:  Dude!  My outfit is totally cute!
Isaac:  Uhhhh...
Dad:  I don't think mom would let you walk outside today like that.
Gracie:  I have wild fashion sense.
Dad:  Often you do quite well.  Today it looks like a buffalo-lion picked out your outfit.
Elijah (age 5):  I have a whole bunch of imaginary friends.
Dad:  Oh yeah!  Your imaginary kitty cat.
Elijah:  Oliana.
Gracie:  Elijah told me Oliana moved far, far away and can't visit anymore.
Elijah:  No.  She's here right now!  She did move away, but she can still visit a couple times.
Dad:  What does she look like?
Elijah:  She's an orange cat with stripes.  I have a whole bunch of imaginary friends.  Oliana.  And Hanker... he kind of looks like a hamster with horns.  Because he does have horns.  My biggest one is Manker.  He is an imaginary friend with wheels.  He's the biggest imaginary friend I have.
Isaac:  I never really had an imaginary friend.  I tried to.  But I could never really get into it.
Dad:  Who is your imaginary friend Lily?
Lily:  Liliana.
Dad:  That's the name of your second cousin.
Lily:  Yeah, but it's also the name of a girl who lives in Lilyland.  That's where my imaginary friends stay.
Dad:  Quite often we say, "Lily, you aren't here right now are you...  You are off in Lilyland."  You sort of zone out on a regular basis.
Lily:  Yeah.  When that happens, I'm usually playing with my imaginary friends.
Dad:  You guys are weirder than I thought.
Isaac:  Dad, you can take a photograph of my friend Mr. Fred.  Because he's not imaginary.
Gracie:  He doesn't move much.  He just stands in Isaac's room.
Dad:  And he freaks me out quite a bit.
Gracie:  He's a stuffed man Isaac built and hung on his coat rack.
Dad:  He just stares at me from behind his glasses and fuzzy beard.
Isaac:  He doesn't have glasses.  He has an eye patch.
Gracie:  Just a second.  Ensenta is talking to me.  (silent pause)  Are you done?  Okay.
Dad:  Ah, is Ensenta still around?
Gracie:  She's right here, only you can't see her.  She's pink with purple wings, giant eyes and a fuzzy mouth.
Dad:  What?  She used to be a kid.
Gracie:  She used to be a girl from Mexico.
Dad:  She changed?
Isaac:  Now she's a little poofball.
Dad:  I didn't know that.  She used to be a girl from Mexico who liked to drink milk.
Gracie:  Oh yeah!  She would drink my milk for me!
Dad:  That's the only time she showed up.  When Gracie didn't want to drink her milk.  So Ensenta would drink it.  This little imaginary Mexican girl.
Gracie:  Hee hee hee HAaaaaaaah!
Dad:  That's about all she did.  She never showed up unless milk was around.
Isaac:  Then Gracie got smarter when she got older.
Gracie:  Now Ensenta is allergic to milk.
Dad:  As a kid I didn't have an imaginary friend.  But I did have an invisible friend.  There's a big difference.
(confused silence from the kids)
Dad:  His name was Jonamacon.  And he would play Monopoly with me when no one else would.
(Gracie begins patting Dad on the back)
Dad:  Now that I think about it, that's kind of sad actually.
Kids:  (laughter)

Dotty, by Isaac

Elijah with Hanker and Manker, by Elijah

some inhabitants of Lilyland, by Lily

Gracie and Ensenta, by Gracie

Mr. Fred, by Isaac
(I often forget Mr. Fred is in the boys' room, and I've been startled a great number of times when passing by...)

Author: Erica S. Perl
Illustrator: Julia Denos
Published, 2010: Abrams
Like it? Here it is


beth said...

It's fun to hear how many imaginary friends your kids have. We had three hard-headed realists before finally enjoying fantasy flights with the youngest.

I love the organization of the bookshelves behind Mr. Tom.

Erica S. Perl said...

You guys! I'm so honored that you reviewed and enjoyed DOTTY! I'm a big fan of your blog - did you know that? - and I was secretly hoping DOTTY would find her way to you. I am thrilled, yet unsurprised, that you guys got it and riffed on it on so many levels. Terrific review (and great fashion sense all around I am sure!).

Your fan and friend,

Erica S. Perl

melanie said...

Love the review and the fan art! I'm glad you all picked up this book, I think it's one of the best from 2010. And reading about your imaginary/invisible friends is very entertaining!

Mr. Fred looks very real...and not very happy at the moment. He looks like he's about to tell you exactly what you're doing wrong; that would startle me, too. Excellent creation, Isaac!

Gracie, keep rockin' your excellent fashion sense! In elementary school, my fashion icon was Claudia from the Babysitter's Club, and sometimes my mom wouldn't let me go out the door in my creations. Don't worry--people will start praising your awesome outfits soon enough!

ETCIllustration said...

Caught wind of this site via Julia's probably the best book review I've ever seen. Absolutely wonderful. Thanks for spreading the whimsy.

Will Strong said...

Mr. Fred is amazing. Nice work everybody.

LitLass said...

Great review and artwork. I can't wait to check out the book. Unfortunately, my imaginary friend didn't like me, but I think I turned out okay anyway.

Jan Markley said...

What a unique idea for a blog! Just discovered your blog through the mother reader comment challenge!

Playing by the book said...

Another load of smiles here brought on by your words! I never had an imaginary or invisible friend, but my eldest has several and they are MOST DEFINITELY use to explain any mishaps around the house! I'm sure she'd love this book so on the wishlist it goes...

Niki said...

I had an imaginary friend named Debbie when I was younger. She had pink hair. One time, when our van door almost closed on me, Debbie stopped it, so I wouldn't get hurt!

I love your website, and this review. I think I will see if we have this book at the library! (My name is Niki, and I work in the Youth Department at Loutit, but only for another week!)

MotherReader said...

I like that Ensenta is lactose-intolerant. It gives her character. ;^)

Great review, guys, on a very fun book.

Rex and Poppy said...

Isaac....your Dotty is just beautiful.

Love Rex & Poppy xxx

Jennifer Morian Frye said...

I think Mr. Fred would startle me as well! I love how creative your family is! And as always, thank you for sharing great books with us....and congratulations on the new little one!

Brimful Curiosities said...

That's a fun and quirky book by Perl and perfectly illustrated by Denos. No imaginary friends for my kids, yet. I'm sure they would also encourage them at my daughters school. She came home one day and told me that, according to her teacher, fairies live in the hallway. She was very upset that the fairies are never there when she looks for them.