Nonconformity becomes the rule on Mr. Plumbean's street, but only after he shakes up his neighbors (squares, all of them, down to the lines of their jaws) by becoming the exception on a ""neat street"" where every house is the same. The turnaround begins when a seagull (""no one knows why"") drops a splot of orange paint on Mr. Plumbean's roof. The neighbors urge him to repaint, but when he does, ""Mr. Plumbean's house was like a rainbow. It was like a jungle. It was like an explosion""; then people say, ""Plumbean has popped his cork, flipped his wig, blown his stack, and dropped his stopper."" But Mr. Plumbean has made his house look like his dreams, and as, one by one, the neighbors visit to talk sense, they end up changing their own houses to match their dreams--as pictured in splashy color, there's a ship, a balloon, a medieval castle, etc. And no one cares that strangers think they've all got ""bees in their bonnets, bats in their belfrys, and knots in their noodles""--phrases that grownups might not appreciate but small listeners are likely to go round repeating. And like the residents of Plumbean's street, Pinkwater makes something groovy out of an ordinary beginning.