Pair a Pear with Facts & Fun!



James Peale Pears & GrapesI didn’t expect to find so many interesting facts about pears–not to mention crazy videos. (Google “pear nursery rhymes” for even more.) This delicious, nutritious fruit has one of the longest recorded histories of any food, and may even have been eaten in prehistoric times.

Here’s a list of the facts I most enjoyed learning. I’ll bet your kids will have fun with them too–if for no other reason than showing off to their favorite grown up!

1. Pears are one of the world’s oldest cultivated fruits–and one of the most beloved:

a) Present-day China was probably the birthplace of cultured pears. In 5,000 B.C., Feng Li, a Chinese diplomat, abandoned his responsibilities when he became obsessed with grafting peaches, almonds, persimmons, pears and apples.

b) In the epic poem The Odyssey, the ancient Greek poet Homer calls pears a “gift of the gods.”

c) The Romans grew and grafted pears–no doubt influenced by the Roman goddess of fruit, Pomona.

partridge-pear-treed) Thanks to their versatility and long storage life, pears were a valuable and much-desired item of merchandise along the trading routes of the ancient world.

e) Pears are admired for their beauty, and artists have often included them in their still life paintings. (The c. 1821 beauty at the top of this post is a detail from American artist James Peale’s “Fruit in a Chinese Export Basket.” The original hangs in the U.S. White House!)

f) The pear tree was immortalized–along with a partridge–in the 18th-century Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas.

2. There are over 3000 varieties of pears worldwide.

3. Pears make a rockin’ snack! A medium pear has about 100 calories. (Compare that to 215 calories in a medium candy bar.) Plus, they are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium and contain no saturated fat, sodium or cholesterol. Go, pears!

4. The United States is one of the largest producers of pears in the world, and Oregon and Washington produce 84% of the nation’s fresh pear crop.

5. Pears ripen from the inside out. They also ripen better off the tree than on it. You know a pear is ripe when it gives with gentle pressure near the stem; if you wait until it’s soft around the middle, it’s over-ripe.

6. Pears used to be called “butter fruit” for their soft, butter-like texture.

7. Pears, apples and roses (yes, roses as in flowers!) are close cousins.

8. Pear wood was used historically to make musical instruments like lutes, recorders and the “jacks” of harpsichords (the part that plucks the strings).

9. Sesame Street featured pears in one of their Dinner Theatre episodes–#4157, to be exact. Here it is. It’s a bit fuzzy–but you’re still in for a treat!

10. If pears could talk–and were filling in for another fruit on a TV talk show–would they really be as clueless as the one below?! Warning: this video has a grossness factor kids will love (and you might not).

Yours in factual and fictional fun,

Barbara Jean the Story Queen

Healthy Food

Information adapted from healing arts.orgthatsitfruit.comUSA Pears and wikipedia. James Peale image, U.S. public domain. Partridge in a pear tree image courtesy Xavier Romero-Frias at under license by Videos used with permission via



First, a disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a chef. I’m not even a mom. What I know about healthy food and healthy eating I’ve learned by reading and doing, just like you.

What I am is a children’s book author. A Story Queen! My area of expertise is FUN. In the last dozen years, I’ve written a number of entertaining, award-winning picture books–about monsters, cats, Disney princesses–and veggies, of all things. 

I’m big on imagination. Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli encourages kids (the way my dad encouraged my siblings and me) to think of broccoli as crunchy, munchy, fun-to-eat trees. Once Upon a Parsnip is a fairytale rematch between Little Red Riding Hood (a vegetarian) and the Big Bad Wolf (NOT a vegetarian). Scary fun!

On the surface, neither of my veggie books is really about healthy eating–they’re just plain fun. But the fun is subversive: both books introduce and normalize the idea of eating healthy, fresh-from-the-garden vegetables. (Never underestimate the power of fun to get your kids to try something new!)

My goal in these pages is to find and share fun ways to introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to children and to normalize healthy foods and healthy eating in their experience. My means is to expose them–through you, their parents and caregivers–to food-friendly books, videos, downloadable and printable posters and coloring pages, hands-on activities and kid-friendly recipes. Anything that equates healthy food and FUN!

I’m here for you–to help you make healthy eating feel as natural to your children as breathing. 

Because healthy food and healthy fun make healthy kids. And that’s something all of us can get behind.


Barbara Jean Hicks, a.k.a. “The Story Queen”

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To purchase signed, personalized copies of my picture books, visit the “Books” page on my website.  To contact me about my well regarded young author presentations for schools, or for other enquiries, send an email from the “Contact” page at I look forward to hearing from you!

2 responses on “Pair a Pear with Facts & Fun!

  1. John S Green says:

    Love the facts about pairs—I should eat more. The Sesame Street song was so funny. The beet was my favorite in the second clip… “I’m a late bloomer, man!”.

    • Barbara Hicks says:

      One of the best things about working on this blog is doing the research and finding out how many fun, funny, quirky videos are out there that feature fruits and veggies! I loved the Sesame Street one, too. SO. MUCH. FUN!

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