By Margaret Chatfield
If you have not read “Harriet’s Halloween Candy” by Nancy Carlson, let me tell you the story. Harriet, the main character, got a lot of candy on Halloween. The illustration shows Harriet dragging her candy loot bag on the ground, obviously too heavy to carry. When she got home, she carefully laid out all her candy on the floor. She organized it by color, size and by favorites.
Nancy Carlson also illustrated this book. She strategically placed Harriet’s younger brother Walter in each picture watching Harriet from the adjoining room. He was too young to go trick-or-treating. Harriet’s mom said, “Harriet, you be sure you share your candy with Walt.” Unfortunately, Harriet quickly snapped, “No, it’s all mine” as she clutched her candy loot bag.
The next page Harriet “felt a little guilty.” She decided to share a “teensy-weensy piece of coconut candy. She does not like coconut anyway.” Harriet quietly laughed to herself as she shared her one piece of candy. Before Harriet went to bed that evening, she packed her candy in a big box with the words “private” written on it and carefully hid the box in her closet.
In the morning, Harriet woke up early to eat some of her candy. She ate three caramel chocolate bars, and then hid the rest of the candy behind her bookcase. Harriet checked on her candy stash throughout the day, oblivious to the fact that her little brother Walter is watching. She counted her candy again and hid her loot in yet another place.
Before long Harriet ran out of new hiding places. “There’s only one thing to do” said Harriet. “I’ll have to eat it all up.” Harriet began to eat. “First she ate chocolate bars with peanuts, then licorice whips, then peanut-butter cups, then the red, blue, green and orange gumdrops.” After she shoved the saltwater taffy in her mouth she said, “I don’t feel so good.”
Harriet thought, “maybe it’s time to share” as she grabbed her stomach in discomfort. Her little brother Walter entered the room, Harriet offered him a sugar donut and some caramel apples. Harriet’s mom witnessed this kind act of sharing and said, “I’m so proud of you Harriet, sharing is a sign of a grown-up.” Harriet quickly stated to her mother “I was going to share all the time.” The last sentence in the story is from Harriet’s mom. “That’s good Harriet, now go wash up for dinner.” Nancy Carlson’s illustration is spot on, Harriet covers her mouth as she turns green at the thought of having to eat dinner when her tummy is so full of candy. Yikes!
Every parent wants their child to be kind to others, especially siblings, and learn to share. Sometimes learning to share is not easy. Harriet learned her “sharing” lesson painfully with a queasy upset stomach.
When it comes to an abundance of Halloween candy and your child, get creative. Dietitian Nasrin Sinichi offers the following advice. Let your child “trade” in their Halloween candy for something they have been wanting. Another suggestion is to store the candy somewhere other than their room. Let them eat liberally on Halloween. The next day return to healthy eating patterns. Ration the candy and proportion it to healthy activities. If excess candy is really troubling, offer alternatives at your door step, such as stickers, pencils, or bubbles. Offer healthy treats like pretzels, trail mix, nuts or raisins.
The library has many great picture books to help your child understand why learning to share is an important part of growing up. Try “sharing” one or two of these books:
“Llama Llama, Time to Share” by Anna Dewdney, “Norris, the Bear Who Shared” by Catherine Rayner, “One Big Pair of Underwear” by Laura Gehl and “If You Plant a Seed” by Kadir Nelson.
The Middlefield library, 16167 East High St. (44062) is open Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Call 440-632-1961.