Artful & Ad-Worthy Melons



Giant California Watermelon

How about that ginormous watermelon?! The small print at the bottom of this 1909 postcard reads, “This Is How Watermelon Grows in California.” And someone has handwritten on the image of the giant fruit, “Doesn’t this look good to you. Wonderful!”

I’m not sure if that painting got anyone to move to California, but I’m guessing a few. Some people will believe anything!

Below you’ll find three still life paintings that depict watermelons in very different styles. Two are by well known artists and the third is a tabletop painted by an unknown Mexican folk artist. Ask your kids to observe the paintings closely. Which one do they like best? Why? What other fruits and vegetables can they find in the paintings? Have they tried them all?

If not, add a new item to your grocery list this week; tell your kids you’ll all try it together. (Umm…. No, probably not the wine!) Then create a “Still Life With Watermelon” model of your own on your kitchen table, adding other fruits and items, and let them draw and color or paint a still life of their own. Your kids will especially love this activity if you pick up a pencil and join in the fun. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect–it just has to be yours!

Still Life with Watermelon and Pomegranates, Paul Cezanne, 1906

Still Life with Watermelon and Pomegranates, Paul Cezanne, 1906

Still Life with Watermelons, Constantin Stahi, 1912

Still Life with Watermelons, Constantin Stahi, 1912

Artist and Date Unknown

Artist and Date Unknown

Yours artistically,

Barbara Jean the Story Queen

Healthy Food

Photos used with permission via Giant watermelon postcard, Emma Paperclip,; Guadalajara tabletop, Wonderlane, Cezzane and Stahi paintings, public domain.



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!

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