The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater (Paperback)
When Mr. Plumbeans' house is splashed with bright orange paint, he decides a multi-colored house would be a nice change. This favorite story of creativity and individuality is a great tale for discussions around how children can express themselves and acceptance of others.
This book is part of the curriculum for our newly-launched Critical Thinking Workshops!
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Reading Level: 6+
"This is my absolute favorite book from childhood. See, Mr. Plumbean lived on a street where all the houses looked alike, until one day, a bird carrying a pail of orange paint dropped it on Mr. Plumbean's roof, creating the big orange splot of the title. His first thought was to remove the splot, but the more he looked at it, the more he liked it. He even planted palm trees and got an alligator to add to his unique decor. Then, one by one, all his neighbors came over to his house to beg him to remove the big orange splot so that all the houses would look the same again. But he sat each one down in turn, fed them lemonade (acid-laced???), and told them, "My house is me, and I am it, and it looks like all my dreams." Then one by one, each neighbor turns his own house into his dream house. One is a ship-looking house, one looks like the Taj Mahal, and eventually each house is completely individual.
And I'll never forget how awesome that message is: My house is me, and I am it, and it looks like all my dreams. In other words, fight the power!!!"
"I simply adore the message of this book: be yourself and express your colors always, no matter how bland others become. The book introduces the reader to a diverse neighborhood, where all the houses look exactly alike. Then one day it happened. Someone (or bird?) decided to step out. The next thing you know, the neighbors are all drinking some funny lemonade and they magically becomes who they truly are on the inside by changing their home on the outside. Warning: this book includes made up words and is loaded with colloquialisms, yet presents great opportunities to build meaning with context clues. Great art extension after reading book: have students illustrate their own dream home and explain what inspired their design."
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