The Prettiest Picture

“Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack,

All dressed in black, black, black.”

Ayanna and Grandma slapped, clapped, and sang together in the backyard.

“Ooooo, Grandma! That was fun! What are we gonna do next?” asked Ayanna.

Splish! Splash! Splish! Splash!

“Uh-oh, Ayanna. Looks like rain. Let’s go inside.”

Ayanna and Grandma picked up toys in the yard…quick! quick!…then went into the house…quick! quick!

Ayanna wondered, “Now what can we do?” Ayanna and Grandma sat down to think.

“Watch television?”

“Gives me the blues.”

“Read a story?”

“Can’t seem to choose.”

“Build a tower?”

“Where are the blocks?”

“Play ‘Old Maid'”?

“Oops…no cards in the box!”

“Bake some cookies?”

“It’s too hot.”

“Paint a picture?”

“Sure…why not!”

“Well now, what can we paint?” Ayanna asked.

And Grandma answered, “I know — let’s paint the prettiest thing we can think of.”

Ayanna thought to herself, “What am I going to paint?” Ayanna thought…and then thought some more. So many pretty, pretty things: the big apple tree in Grandma’s backyard, the shining sun, her favorite rag doll, a colorful rainbow, Grandma’s little cat, hearts, flowers, smiles.

Then Ayanna had a great big, colorful idea!

“I’ll paint all the different pretty things I can think of,” said Ayanna.

She used all the colors of the rainbow: red and orange, green and blue, shiny yellow, purple, too. And she used all the brushes: long and short, fat and skinny, stiff and soft.

“Oh, Grandma! This is fun, fun, fun! Come here and see, Grandma! See what I’ve done!”

Grandma’s big smile made Ayanna feel so proud.

“What did you paint, Grandma? A bird? A tree? Your cat? A rainbow? A cake? A smile?”

“There,” Grandma said, “I’m done! This is definitely the prettiest thing I can think of.”

“Show me, please!” Ayanna said.

Grandma showed her work.

Ayanna’s eyes were big with surprise. “Grandma! Grandma, that’s me!” “That’s right, sweetheart. You are the prettiest thing I could think of. Your face, smooth and brown like chocolate…your eyes like two bright stars…your hair, all twisty and curly just like Mommy’s…and your beautiful smile — make you the prettiest thing I ever did see!”

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