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Dot in Larryland: The Big Little Book of an Odd-Sized Friendship

Last updated Friday, February 17, 2012

Author: Patricia Marx
Illustrator: Roz Chast
Date of Publication: 2008
ISBN: 1599901811
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2012

Synopsis: From School Library Journal:
A quirky tale of an unlikely friendship between beyond-ridiculously small Dot and extra-large Larry. Though the title gives the impression that Dot enters Larry's world, the book is more about how the characters don't fit in with average-sized people and how they eventually find one another. The text reads like a Dr. Seuss offering with its rhymes and made-up words. For example, on "The Chart of Tinies," Dot is shown to be littler than a "Glot (small), Zot (quite small), Sprot (even smaller), Krot (unbelievably small)," and Chot (ridiculously small)." Dot has a hard time finding friends: sand grains are preoccupied with being a beach while fleas are too busy making dogs itch. Of course, Larry doesn't have it any easier: the house at 66 Edgars Lane refuses his invitation for a walk, saying, "I'm stuck here, in charge of the Johnsons' stuff." And in response to his wanting to play hide-and-seek, the weeping willow only cries. Then, when Larry almost eats Dot one day, the two become friends. Marx's humor combined with Chast's New Yorker-style illustrations make for quite a sophisticated read. The pen-and-ink and watercolor artwork is filled with clever details and touches, and dialogue balloons add wisecracking fun. Some words and concepts may go over the heads of younger children, but the rhyme schemes and short sentences make this a lively and original read-aloud.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you have a friend who is different from you?
•  Why should we have friends who are different?

•  Miserable: extremely sad
•  Lonely/lonesome: feeling like nobody wants to hang out with them
•  Large/Extra-large: very big
•  Weeping: crying a lot
•  Unusual: out of the ordinary
•  Paramecium: extra tiny cells found in water

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why would you be lonely and miserable if you were as small as Dot?
•  What kind of things do you think they'll Dot and Larry will do together?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of Dot and Larry
•  Draw things as if you were seeing them from Dot's point of view.

Special activities:
•  Have them make up words to mean bigger or smaller and make a visual chart.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!