________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 26. . . .March 13, 2015


Spots, Dots... and the Nots?!

Fawn Einarson. Illustrated by Arthur Karakochuk.
Saskatoon, SK: Hear My Heart Books, 2012.
32 pp., stapled pbk., $10.00.
ISBN 978-0-9868750-5-2.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Rob Bittner.

* /4



To the Pinks, Reds and Whites of the world: Remember, you are exactly who you are meant to be and loved beyond your understanding. May you learn to celebrate the miracle that is you through the most important love of all – love of self.


In Spots, Dots… and the Nots?!, author Fawn Einarson and illustrator Arthur Karakochuk address bullying through an allegory in which a town of red spots and white dots refuses to accept the pink dots for who they are. One lone pink dot searches high and low for other pink dots, but, being unable to find any friends, Pink attempts to coexist with the Reds and Whites, but they are intolerant and fearful. Pink tries to fit in with the other groups, but the solitary Pink is unsuccessful until other Pinks start to arrive on the scene, and they try to educate the community about difference and living peacefully.

     While I understand the good intentions behind the project, the resulting book is unlikely to find much of an audience. The illustrations are simplistic and often overcrowd the page. The overall design is unappealing as well, with text and image often mingling in such a way as to distract the eye and cause confusion where the narrative is concerned. The story also lacks subtlety and nuance, making the allegory rather ineffective overall. It is obvious that the project was created with the pink shirt anti-bullying campaign in mind, but the lack of nuance causes the plot to feel forced.

      Children’s literature is a vast body of literature, much of it quite impressive and much more nuanced. Unfortunately, Spots, Dots… and the Nots?! will likely fall flat amidst the larger body of children’s books, especially where themes of anti-bullying are concerned. While I do not wish to disparage the creators of this work, the final product lacks the subtlety and coherence I would have hoped for in such a lengthy, extended metaphor.

Not Recommended.

Rob Bittner is a graduate of the MA in Children’s Literature program at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. He is currently a PhD student in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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