This delightful children’s story might need a bit of interpretation before a child would understand it as a story of interracial adoption. But this could be a plus for Red in the Flower Bed because it forces a child and a loving caregiver not only to read the poem, but to talk about the meaning of the words and the artwork.
Red in the Flower Bed begins when a tiny seed drops to the ground where the soil is far too dry for the seed to sprout and grow. Luckily, nature’s wind picks up the poppy seed and carries it away to a better place. Seasons change as the tiny seed is tossed about. At last, the wind drops the seed in a “patch that I think will match.”
Nearby plants look on wondering what kind of flower this new seed in their midst will become. Intermixed with falling rain, they watch the sun warm the garden plot. In due time, the seed begins to grow roots strong enough to support its tall stem.
At last, in all its crimson glory, a beautiful poppy flower blooms. It no longer feels alone because loving flowering friends surround it. The poppy feels happy and loved. Best of all, it adds a bright red color to enhance the garden’s rainbow of colors.
The rhyme in Red in the Flower Bed is not trite. Children would probably enjoy reading the poem many times because they like repetitious rhyme. It is easy to remember and helps early readers recognize new words.
Although it is comforting to see how this seed finally found a new home amongst flowers of many different colors, a caregiver might have to draw out the similarity between that seed finding a new home and an adopted child finding a new loving home in a family with a different racial background.
The story is quite fun to read, even for adults; and the artwork seems appropriate for the tale. Hopefully Andrea Nepa will write more books to help children understand the problems they face.