Daniel Pinkwater – yes, that Daniel Pinkwater of NPR fame – is one of my heroes for penning The Big Orange Splot. I love everything about this book: the colorful pictures, the funny language (the protagonist is Mr. Plumbean, for goodness sake), the comical story, and the meaningful message. Whenever a parent wanders into the library, hoping to identify a quality read-aloud for his child’s class, this is one of my go-to books. The story is timeless, appeals to both boys and girls of varying ages, and it is fun to read. Just fun.
As the title suggests, a big orange splot falls upon Mr. Plumbean’s house (thanks to a bird and an open can of paint. No one knows why). Instead of taking care of this unsightly mark on his roof, he ponders it for a few days and winds up embracing it. Oh, his neighbors aren’t too tickled, but interestingly, one by one, they come to visit Plumbean late at night to receive the needed inspiration to turn their own homes into houses of their dreams. The final pages of the book wordlessly show a block of homes that are steeped in imagination, and kids always –always – always – react to these houses. Next time you’re stumped as to what book to read aloud to a group of children, look no further. Grab yourself a copy of The Big Orange Splot and enjoy its deliciousness.
~ Ask students to describe (creative writing prompt!), design, draw, or create a model of their own dream house!
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