Have you ever read the book, “The Carrot Seed” by Ruth Krauss?
It’s incredibly simple and woefully bland to look at. It is 12 pages of simple words and filled with only 4 dull colors – brown, white, beige and 70’s yellow.
Surprisingly, my kid loves it. Lately he has been making me read it to him 3 times before he falls asleep. Why this book above the other more colorful books? I initially had no idea.
I understand wanting to read “Good Night Moon” – it’s a cool little story. I really enjoy the newly illustrated “The Little Engine that Could” because I like to do the sound effects and it’s beautiful to look at. But “The Carrot Seed”? After reading the first few pages, I’m ready to crawl into the crib and head for a snoozefest.
Let me condense an already fairly short book for you:
A kid wants to plant a carrot seed.
One by one his family members tell him that it won’t grow.
He doesn’t listen and waters the plant anyway.
Nothing grows for a couple of days. Then one day a carrot grows.
So why do I think my kid is a genius again?
He makes me read this book multiple times. The other night after the second reading, he looked at me to make sure I was getting it. I think he thought I was just going through the motions. He sensed I wasn’t entirely “in the moment”, so he made me do it again. Then a light bulb went off in my head – this is a story about persistence.
Slight dramatization of the actual exchange:
Owen turns to me and cups my chin in his hand. He turns it slightly to face him. With eyes wide he pleads, “Read it again.”
I flip back to the cover and begin to read it again. This time paying attention to the words and looking at the very simple drawings and simple colors.
“And then, one day, a carrot came up just as the little boy had known it would.” I read aloud.
Together we looked at the young boy carting off his giant carrot in his wheel barrow holding his head high.
Owen turns to me and says, “He didn’t give up mom.”
“You’re right. He really kept at it even when it seemed like it was unlikely to happen.”
The all-knowing blue eyes stared at me to make sure I got the message.
“Yes, Owen. Giving up can be easy. I should keep at it and make sure it happens despite how hard it may seem.”
My kid might be onto something. Perhaps he sensed my defeatist attitude about my job lately. Maybe he knew that I could do it but that I needed to be patient and keep at it until one day success would come. By day I was getting pushed around by 200 lb men. By night I was being put in my place by a 26 lb bundle of wisdom.
So, I’m keeping at it and hoping to cart home a giant carrot one day, just as my little boy had known I would.
Yep, my kid is a genius.