By, Jan Cornebise
At 3 A.M., an urgent call for the manager blared through the all-night Kingsmart grocery store:
“Major clean-up in the produce department!”
The manager rushed to the area and gasped as he stared at the heap of vegetables in
“What in the world! How did this happen?”
The carrots knew but they weren’t talking. They had heard the earlier complaint from the broccoli bin:
“Look at that! A customer walked in, picked up some oranges at the front of the produce section, as usual, and never even looked at us.”
“Why should she?” the cabbage asked, “She was sleepy and only wanted oranges.”
“We’re better-looking than oranges.” said the broccoli. “They’re round and boring, so why are they on a table at the entrance? If we had been there, she would have bought us.”
“Oh, yeah?” said the oranges, “you don’t taste as good as we do, besides we have vitamin C!”
“We do too!” the broccoli exclaimed.
“We are the best looking,” said the tomatoes. “Check out our perfect skin. What’s more, we’re delicious.”
“No, we’re delicious!” said the apples.
“Tomatoes, you’re not even vegetables,” said the avocados.
The potatoes eyed the avocados. “Just look at your bumpy skin. With legs you’d look like alligators.
Actually, if you want to know what is the best produce, you should ask us. We spent most of our lives underground where we had deep thoughts.
“Look at us,” said the lettuce, “Our curly leaves would win any beauty contest.”
“Has anyone noticed our beautiful color?” asked the eggplants. “Of course, some customers may think we’re bitter, but we’re only bitter when someone puts us in the cooler with the eggs. How insulting!”
“Looks are not everything,” said the okra, “some of us have an important job. Can you imagine gumbo without us?
“Can it, dudes,” said the green beans. “We are not in a contest. Look around. Together we make a colorful display and we’re all packed with vitamins.”
“So what! The broccoli has a point, you know,” said the beets, “location is everything. We all deserve to be at the front. Instead of fighting about who is best, we need to join up, steel our courage and jump to the front of the produce section.”
“Jump? We don’t know how,” said the bean sprouts, “We’ve never jumped before.”
“Oh, grow up!” yammered the sweet potatoes.
“Come on, have a heart,” said the artichokes, “don’t pick on the sprouts.”
“I’m with the beets. Now is the time,” shouted the turnips. “We’re strong and we can do it! Ready? On the count of three: one … two … THREE!”
Fruit and vegetables whizzed through the air from all directions, arching, then crashing to the floor. In the end, all were scattered about, like a giant tossed salad.
“We can’t sell these bruised vegetables,” sighed the manager. “There’s only one thing to do.”
“Trash heap or compost?” asked a member of the clean-up crew.
“Wait!” shouted the artist, Dave Inchy. “You can’t destroy this gorgeous pile of produce. It has inspired me to paint the world’s greatest still life. Leave it just as it is, while I get my paints and canvas.
“The beets and broccoli were right,” said the radish, “we did get everyone’s attention.”
About the Author
Jan Cornebise is a writer and illustrator of stories and poems for children. She has degrees in elementary education and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
A former teacher, she loves family time, reading, gardening, and travel.