The Big Orange Splot
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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
We first read this book to our son when he was a toddler, now that he's ten, we still use it as a way to encourage his (and our) appreciation of others' choices. Pinkwater is one of the great storytellers and educator its around, and this book deserves as wide an audience as possible. It's that good. As usual, Pinkwater doesn't spend much time on developing a plausible plot: Things just happen, and, because of his dry matter-of-fact tone, you accept it. One day a seagull with a can of bright orange paint "dropped the can (no one knows why) right over Mr. Plumbean's house." The resulting big orange splot upsets the neighbors, who all live in identical brown housed with gray roofs and green shutters. When they ask him to paint his house (to get rid of the orange splot), Plumbean follows the letter--but not the spirit=-of their request. He paints the house red, yellow, green, and purple. He adds more splots, strikes, and "elephants and lions and pretty girls and steam shovels."

The neighbors are aghast. In a recurring motif, the neighbors exclaim that something must be wrong with their neighbor: "Plumbean has gushed his mush, lost his marbles, and slipped his hawser." Mr. Plumbean resists their pressure, explaining in one of many memorable lines from the book: "My house is me and I am it. My house...looks like all my dreams." One by one, over tall glasses of lemonade, Mr. Plumbean casually talks to the other neighbors, one by one, about their own dreams. The following day, each neighbor expresses those dreams through his or her house.

The book isn't so much about nonconformity as about self-expression, or what Maslow called "self-actualization." That everyone eventually paints their house in wild colors is not so much a new form of conformity, but rather the flowering and unafraid celebration of their individuality, and an acceptance of this in others. Very highly recommended; it may be a book you'll treasure for years to come.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 1997
Let your dreams become your reality! Make waves! Be who you are, not who everyone thinks you are! Share your dreams and bring joy and a sense of freedom to all who come in contact with you! These are the messages of "The Big Orange Splot", Daniel Pinkwater's utterly, delightlful tale. Mr. Plumbean turns the disaster of the "big orange splot" of paint dropped on his roof by a sea gull into an opportunity to break away from the constraints of conformity. You will smile as you read how his daring actions liberate his whole "neat street". Recommended for children and adults who all need reminding that there is still a child in all of us. I LOVE this BOOK!!!!!!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 1999
The Big Orange Splot is, according to me, the best children's book I have ever read. It shows children (as well as adults) that being yourself is the right thing to be. Creativity is sometimes stifled in this world, and this book shows that it is a wonderful thing to be creative. This book helps the reader to grow as an individual, and to heighten their level of self-esteem.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2004
This book was a joy to read! It shows how rewarding it is to be an individual. The plot: Mr. Plumbean lives in an Edward Scissorhands type of neighbourhood until a seagull drops a can of orange paint onto his house. After some thought, Mr. Plumbean decides to ignore the requests of his neighbours to keep the neighbourhood "neat" (thus painting his house back to the original colour). He, instead, decides to create his own space where "he likes to be and (that) looks like all (of his) dreams". His joy is infectious. In the end, all of his neighbours decide to paint their houses to reflect their own dreams. What a great ending! A good book to send to your neighbourhood CCNR. (Oh, and my 4-year-old loved it too!)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2005
I have been a teacher and librarian and have read this book to probably several thousand children. It is the very best book to read aloud. It gets gasps, smiles and laughs from every group. Best of all, I never get tired of reading it. I gave it to an art teacher who used it for a project. Ask students to draw a picture of their Plumbean house and to write an explanation of it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2009
I have been trying to find this book for years and years and years. It is the one book that I remember from childhood--really it founded my beliefs about individuality and hope and how to live life. Over the years, I have asked countless librarians and book store owners if they knew of the book's name--and no one ever did. I was beginning to think I imagined it....for it over the years, I never could find it. A friend just gave it to me for my children because she thought I might like it--I can't tell you how happy it has made me! It's just wonderful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2000
This book is wonderful. My mom must have read it to me amillion times when I was little, and now I am sharing it with otherchildren I know. It teaches kids to be themselves and be unique, and it shows them to follow their dreams. "This book is me and I am it. This book is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams."
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 1997
Our copy of The Big Orange Splot is dog-eared from reading. Mr. Plumbean, whose house is splotted upon by a paint-wielding seagull, expands himself by creating the home of his imagination. He causes a revolution on his neat street, not combatively, but persuasively, by living his dreams and inspiring his neighbors to do the same. This book takes the band from around the conformist's heart and allows it to expand to fill one's personal space. Please read this to your children often.
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2001
This is another fun and witty book from Daniel Pinkwater. Mr. Plumbean lives on a street called Neat St. All the houses are neat, and they are all very similar. One day a bird drops a big spot of orange paint on his house. The neighbors want him to repaint his house, to make the house look neat again. He repaints his house, but with lots of odd and strange colors and designs! All the neighbors are outraged and appalled; they think he's flipped his wig!
I've read this book to kids, 3- to 5-year olds, and they think it's hilarious. I think most kids would love to strike out and look different, make unusual art, et cetera. The world of adults probably looks boring to lots of kids. But overly serious adults discourage kids from looking or acting too far from accepted norms. Mr. Plumbean, and his creator Mr. Pinkwater, show kids that it's okay for your house to look different, and for you to be different!
My only quibble with this book: after Plumbean changes the looks of his house, the neighbors complain for a while, then ALL the other neighbors change the looks of their houses as well, to look like their dreams, as did Mr. Plumbean. It's a bit of a stretch. Did they ALL want to change their houses? Isn't that a bit of conformity in itself? If at least one guy had left his house the way it was, and said "my house always looked like my dreams," (surely, Plumbean and all of his newly enlightened neighbors would approve) it would have seemed more in keeping with the "be yourself" theme of the book. As it is, all the neighbors seem to be hopping on the bandwagon.
Out in the real world, not everyone wants to have a goofy looking house (or outfit, or car), regardless of what other people think. Anyway, that's my quibble. I give this book 4 stars. Little kids (and older kids, also, apparently) really love it!
RESOLVE TO BUY THIS HUMOROUS BOOK.
ken32
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2004
The Big Orange Splot is a marvelous example of individuality.

In an ordinary neighborhood, each house is like a replica of the previous house. Mr. Plumbean, an ordinary guy living in this ordinary neighborhood, lives on the street of the neighborhood and accepts that it is unadorned. But as soon as a seagull flies over and drops a fairly large bucket of bright orange paint on his rooftop, Mr. Plumbean takes this accidentally made blot, and enhances it. What will the others on his street think? Read this amazing story and figure it out.

The author did a good job writing this book and making it understandable. I like the main moral of the story; when you're a rebel, you can change things. I also like how Daniel Pinkwater described this situation. However, I really wasn't sure about the part with the bird. Pinkwater did not specify why the bird had the pail and why the bird dropped it.

I would give this book five out of five stars because of the magnificent pictures and the moral of the story. When I see the eye-popping pictures of the houses, I sit straight up, pay attention to only what Mr. Plumbean is going to do and read on.

I would suggest that people who listen to others and are not independent should really read The Big Orange Splot. Chancing what others are thinking,like Mr. Plumbean did, is a difficult thing to do. Reading this book can inspire others to be different. Not only is this book appropriate for little children, but for any age. Listen to me, read The Big Orange Splot and get the courage to stand out.

by: tooshort
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