CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 26. . . .March 13, 2015
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.
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.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.