Daniel Pinkwater

Scholastic, 1977




Where All The Houses Are The Same

If someone were to ask me for the name of my favorite book, and I really tried to think about the answer, my mental circuits would probably blow, sparks would come out of my ears, and smoke would curl up from the top of my head. There are just so many, many candidates.

However, The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater would have to be very, very close to, if not perched right at the top of, any list of my favorite books. It is a picture book, but be not deceived. It is a serious piece of literature — and very funny, too.


The protagonist, Mr. Plumbean, lives on a street where all the houses are the same. It is a neat street and the people there like it that way, thank you very much. When a bird flies over Mr. Plumbean’s house and drops a can of orange paint onto Plumbean’s roof, Plumbean responds in a thoughtful and deliberate manner that results in profound changes to the formerly neat street, and even more profound changes to the people who live there.

The book, like most of Pinkwater’s books, is a not-so-subtle celebration of individuality and eccentricity. But in The Big Orange Spot Pinkwater pulls it off with such cleverness, humor, and warmth that you’ll forget you’ve ever heard the message before. And you just might decide to paint your room.