The Big Orange Splot

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Pinkwater, D. (1977). The Big Orange Splot. New York: Scholastic Inc.

Through unexpected humour, the themes of taking risks, diversity, following one’s own dreams, and being unique are illuminated. After a seagull carrying a bucket of paint (“no one knows why”) spills it on Mr. Plumbean’s house, Mr. Plumbean paints his house to look like a rainbow, a jungle, an explosion. When he breaks away from the stifling conformity of his neighbourhood, he sets in motion an astonishing chain of events. Playful language is used: “Plumbeam  has gushed his mush, lost his marbles, and slipped his hawser.”

The pictures are done in shockingly bright colours to match the intent of the story. Stripes, elephants, steamshovels, palm trees and hammocks are all cheerfully drawn. The style feels dated and appears to be done in marker. Nevertheless, the few words on each page rely on the large illustrations.

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