Title: The Big Orange Splot
Author & Illustrator: Daniel Manus Pinkwater
Publisher: Scholastic, 1977
Suitable for: K-3
Themes: Individuality, Self-Expression
“Mr. Plumbean lived on a street where all the houses were the same. He liked it that way. So did everybody else on Mr. Plumbean’s street. “This is a neat street,” they would say. Then one day… A seagull flew over Mr. Plumbean’s house. He was carrying a can of bright orange paint. (No one knows why.) And he dropped the can (no one knows why) right over Mr. Plumbean’s house.”
Synopsis: An orange splot on the house inspires Mr. Plumbean to transform his house into something of his dreams. The neighborhood is inspired to make their dreams too.
Activities: This story is perfect for teaching kids individuality and self-expression, that it is okay to be yourself. You can find numerous activity plans created by fellow teachers by doing a Google search. The link I have provided here is suitable for young kids. It involves the child drawing the house of their dreams on Mr. Plumbean’s street and writing a sentence about it. Here is a link to another activity plan which is more involved.
Why I Like this Book: This book teaches in a very creative and simple way, that it is okay to be yourself and that people will still like you. Heck you may even inspire others. The story teaches kids to be confident in who you are but without arrogance. Mr. Plumbean was brave in making his house into an explosion of color and disrupting their neat street. When the neighbor came over to discuss the house situation, Mr. Plumbean simply offered a glass of lemonade and good conversation, resulting in the neighbor transforming his house as well.
The story is illustrated with bright, bold, gorgeous colors done in a simple drawing style that mimics the art of kids. The writing uses colorful and funny expressions. “Plumbean has popped his cork, flipped his wig, blown his stack, and dropped his stopper!”