The Girl Booker

The Girl Booker

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Big Orange Splot

As a child I had a book called The Big Orange Splot (Daniel Manus Pinkwater) and I loved it. I recently tracked a copy down and had it for my bedtime story last night. I still seriously love it; the central message is about individuality and self expression, and how happiness can come from standing up for one's personal vision. Looking at the book with a bookseller's eye was a bit of a shock though, because it's... um... terrible! It breaks almost all the rules; there is too much text on some pages, the illustrations are a little amateur and the rhythm and pace of the text is completely off. But I loved it as a kid and still love it, even though I can see it isn't nearly as polished and clever as a kids book must be today to get anywhere.

It doesn't seem to be aimed at a specific age group which these days is like a mortal sin in a kids book but I remember loving it for a long time. I might be imagining this but I seemed to like it for different reasons and to understand new layers of the story as I got older. It seems a pity that a book like this just would not exist today because there isn't any room for it in the sea of primped, sculpted and pitch-perfectly crafted children's literature.

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