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Recommended reading for Easter

Easter’s almost here! This updated Easter recommended reading list has selections suitable for both secular and religious celebrations of the holiday. These titles were recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and Guide at the time of their publication; reviews reprinted from The Horn Book Guide Online.

Preschool

dunrea_ollie's easter eggsDunrea, Olivier  Ollie’s Easter Eggs
32 pp.    Houghton     2010
Trade ISBN 978-0-618-53243-8

Dunrea’s lovable goslings celebrate Easter by dyeing and hiding eggs. That is, except for little Ollie, who steals all the eggs, whispering “my egg” each time he unearths one. In the end, it turns out his intentions are good. The illustrations as charming as ever, and Gossie fans will enjoy seeing all the birds together in one book.

Little White Rabbit

Henkes, Kevin  Little White Rabbit
40 pp.     Greenwillow    2011
Trade ISBN 978-0-06-200642-4

A little white rabbit has limitless curiosity and imagination to match. Square-bordered pictures of the energetic bunny face clean white pages with a simple line or two, in which the rabbit “wonder[s] what it would be like to be…” just about everything. Alternating full-spread illustrations depict his rich inner life. Bold lines, expressive movement, and a springtime palette will delight the child’s eye.

Hughes, Laura  We’re Going on an Egg Hunt
24 pp.    Bloomsbury     2017
Trade ISBN 978-1-68119-314-4

A bunny family happily heads out on Easter morning, looking for eggs, until they meet up with a wolf and must retrace their steps and return home. There, they have Easter eggs for lunch. This is a somewhat overstuffed mash-up of counting book, lift-the-flap book, Easter book, and “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” reworking, but the watercolor and ink illustrations are appealing.

Paquette, Ammi-Joan  Bunny Bus
32 pp.     Farrar    2017
Trade ISBN 978-0-374-30225-2

Illustrated by Lesley Breen Withrow. The Bunny Bus hops about town, shuttling animal friends dressed in their Easter finery to a parade. Along the way, the overcrowded bus suffers mechanical problems, which leads to cooperative if confusing problem-solving: the animals clean the bus and that fixes it. Still, rollicking rhyming text and illustrations in the bright hues of early spring combine for a cheery, celebratory (and secular) Easter read-aloud.

Stoeke, Janet Morgan  Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs
24 pp.     Dutton     2006
Trade ISBN 0-525-47633-4

Minerva Louise the hen gets worried when she finds oddly colored eggs scattered around the farm. To her relief, a group of “farmers” (laughing children) begins gathering them up. As usual with Minerva Louise’s amusing adventures, readers can revel in their superior knowledge; simple illustrations, featuring flat spring colors and an expressive black line, show an Easter egg hunt in progress.

thomas_easter bunny's assistantThomas, Jan  The Easter Bunny’s Assistant
40 pp.     HarperCollins/Harper     2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-06-169286-4

The Easter Bunny demonstrates how to make Easter eggs with the help of his assistant, Skunk. Unfortunately, when Skunk gets excited he emits his odoriferous trademark smell. Heavy black lines complement the bold color illustrations; the use of word bubbles in this book will produce a lot of laughs at storytime. Directions for making Easter eggs are appended.

tudor_tale for easter

Tudor, Tasha  A Tale for Easter
34 pp.    Little Simon    2014
Board book ISBN 978-1-4424-8857-1

Classic Board Books series. New ed., 1941, Oxford. This board-book version of Tudor’s simply told, delicately illustrated story evokes a time gone by as it celebrates the pleasures of the holiday and the possibilities of spring. A little girl notices all the signs that Easter is near: dress hemming, hot cross buns, and dreams about rabbits and lambs.

underwood_here comes the easter catUnderwood, Deborah  Here Comes the Easter Cat
80 pp.     Dial     2014
Trade ISBN 978-0-8037-3939-0

Illustrated by Claudia Rueda. In this witty offering, Cat is unhappy about the Easter Bunny’s arrival. The text addresses jealous Cat directly, and he responds using placards, humorous expressions, and body language. Rueda expertly uses white space and page turns to focus attention on Cat and the repartee. Underwood’s knowledgeable authorial voice and Rueda’s loosely sketched, textured ink and colored-pencil illustrations make this an entertaining tale.

vail_piggy bunnyVail, Rachel  Piggy Bunny
32 pp.     Feiwel     2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-312-64988-3

Illustrated by Jeremy Tankard. Pig Liam’s parents aren’t exactly thrilled with his aspirations: “Hello, my name is Liam and I’ll be your Easter Bunny.” His big sister has even less patience: “You are a piglet…Deal with it.” Fortunately, Liam’s grandparents (and the Internet) lend a hand in this laugh-out-loud celebration of individuality and imagination. Eye-catching illustrations feature bold black outlines and whimsical touches (Dad sports a handlebar mustache).

 

Primary

cazet_minnie and moo attack of the easter bunniesCazet, Denys  Minnie and Moo: The Attack of the Easter Bunnies
48 pp.     HarperCollins     2004
Trade ISBN 0-06-000506-8
Library binding ISBN 0-06-000507-6

I Can Read Book series. Youngsters learning to read have spent many a holiday with cows Minnie and Moo. At Easter, the two discover the farmer doesn’t want to dress up like the Easter Bunny for his grandchildren. So they fashion their own parade with all the animals joining in. Cazet’s illustrations add visual humor to the cows’ deadpan delivery as they try to explain their convoluted version of Easter.

grambling_here comes t. rex cottontail

Grambling, Lois G.  Here Comes T. Rex Cottontail
32 pp.     HarperCollins/Tegen     2007
Trade ISBN 978-0-06-053129-4
Library binding ISBN 978-0-06-053131-7

Illustrated by Jack E. Davis. Peter Cottontail is sick, so T. Rex volunteers to deliver his eggs. But costume ears, bunny slippers, and a fake cottontail may not be enough to complete his transformation, especially when he smashes all the eggs. T. Rex and his friends find a solution just in time. Lively cartoon drawings illustrate this energetic tale about creative persistence.

grun_jesusGrün, Anselm  Jesus
32 pp.     Eerdmans     2014
Trade ISBN 978-0-8028-5438-4

Illustrated by Giuliano Ferri. Translated by Laura Watkinson. In this German import, Grün retells the life of Jesus by smoothly combining stories and phrases from all four Gospels into one linear narrative. Readers are introduced to two miracles and one parable before reading of Jesus’s death and resurrection. Ferri’s soft paintings have an earthy, gentle feel emphasizing, like the text, the humanity of Jesus.

Heiligman, Deborah  Celebrate Easter
32 pp.     National Geographic     2016
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4263-2371-3
Paperback ISBN 978-1-4263-2370-6

Holidays Around the World series. Reissue, 2007. This reissued book effectively summarizes the history and religious traditions associated with the Christian holiday. The dynamic layout includes large, colorful, well-captioned photographs showing people around the world observing Easter. The text is easy to read, and Heiligman uses the inclusive “we” throughout. Additional facts, a recipe, a map, and a one-page essay from a reverend are included. Reading list, websites. Glos.

country bunny goldenHeyward, DuBose  The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes
48 pp.     Houghton     2010
Trade ISBN 978-0-547-14418-4

Illustrated by Marjorie Flack. New ed., 1939. Bunny Cottontail longs to be an Easter bunny. And even though Cottontail becomes the mother of twenty-one bunnies — or perhaps because of the kind of mother she is — she gets her wish at last. A story kids will enjoy chiefly for the pictures drawn to a small child’s taste. This edition includes a little golden shoes necklace.

joslin_on that easter morningJoslin, Mary  On That Easter Morning
32 pp.     Good     2006
Trade ISBN 1-56148-517-9

Illustrated by Helen Cann. Joslin retells the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection beginning when Jesus enters Jerusalem for Passover. Joslin successfully weaves together the stories from the four Gospels into a coherent and understandable narrative for young readers. The decorative illustrations set the time and place.

Kaplan, Michael B.  Betty Bunny Loves Easter
32 pp.      Dial      2015
Trade ISBN 978-0-8037-4061-7

Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch. After realizing her older siblings are helping her find Easter eggs, Betty Bunny insists on searching by herself, but she’s upset when she only finds one. Her parents reassure her that doing things independently is part of growing up — a lesson Betty mischievously turns to her own advantage in the humorous ending. The lively illustrations are appropriately rendered in an Easter-egg palette.

Kirby, Stan  Captain Awesome and the Easter Egg Bandit
119 pp.     Little Simon     2015
Trade ISBN 978-1-4814-2559-9
Paperback ISBN 978-1-4814-2558-2
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-2560-5

Illustrated by George O’Connor. Captain Awesome series. Eugene and his friends in Ms. Beasley’s class are pleased as punch with their newly decorated Easter eggs. When the eggs go missing, Eugene’s alter-ego, Captain Awesome, and the Sunnyview Superhero Squad step up to solve the mystery. Though a bit meandering, the approachable, kid-friendly story with short, heavily illustrated chapters will please established series fans and young superhero enthusiasts.

Mortimer, Anne  Bunny’s Easter Egg
32 pp.     HarperCollins/Tegen     2010
Trade ISBN 978-0-06-136664-2

Easter morning finds Bunny too tired to hide her last plain egg, so she nestles into her favorite basket with it. The egg cracks, sending Bunny on a hunt for a more comfortable sleeping spot. Predictably, the search circles back to her basket and a newly hatched duckling. Greeting-card pretty, pastel-hued illustrations accompany the sweet springtime tale.

pachkis_p. zonka lays an eggPaschkis, Julie  P. Zonka Lays an Egg
32 pp.     Peachtree     2015
Trade ISBN 978-1-56145-819-6

Paschkis presents one possible origin for Ukrainian pysanky. The chickens dismiss P. Zonka as a dreamer, more concerned with flowers, clouds, and the sky’s colors than with egg-laying duty. Cajoled into laying an egg, P. Zonka surprises everyone: her egg contains all the colors and shapes she sees in nature. Paschkis’s watercolors are filled with repeated patterns and beautiful use of black outlines.

paterson_light of the worldPaterson, Katherine  The Light of the World: The Life of Jesus for Children
48 pp.     Scholastic/Levine     2008
Trade ISBN 978-0-545-01172-3

Illustrated by François Roca. Paterson’s graceful text relates the major events of the life and death of Jesus in simple, accessible language while preserving the central metaphors of the New Testament. Roca’s elegant, glowing compositions, showcased in the book’s large square pages, echo these images. Writer and illustrator lend their crafts to an earnest and artful expression of faith.

Pieńkowski, Jan  Easter: The King James Version
32 pp.     Knopf     2015
Trade ISBN 978-0-385-39277-8
Ebook ISBN 978-0-385-39278-5

Reissue, 1989. Pieńkowski’s illustrations of the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection employ black silhouettes against striking backgrounds — a method that elegantly avoids the limitations of depicting Jesus’ specific features. Symbolic flora and fauna spread across the pages with gilt ornamentation in the glorious and dramatic presentation.

Roberts, Bethany  Easter Mice!
32 pp.     Houghton     2016
Trade ISBN 978-0-618-16455-4
Paperback ISBN 978-0-544-55549-9

Illustrated by Doug Cushman. Green Light Readers series. New ed., 2003, Clarion. While his brothers vie to see who can find the most Easter eggs, a young mouse joyfully explores the spring day. His enthusiasm is dampened when he discovers he is the only one without an Easter egg. Discouraged, he tries again and finds a hatching turtle egg. Originally published as a picture book, the text and illustrations work in this format. Though the choppy rhyming text isn’t inspiring, the energetic watercolor illustrations are inviting.

Stalder, Päivi  Ernest’s First Easter
32 pp.     North-South     2010
Trade ISBN 978-0-7358-2241-2

Illustrated by Frauke Weldin. Stalder’s Easter tale follows Ernest the amateur Easter Bunny, who struggles to find the perfect place to hide his eggs. With the help of a new, if unlikely, canine friend, he scores the best hiding spot yet. Ernest’s efforts make a memorable Easter for one little boy. The soft, rich illustrations reflect the book’s seasonal sentiment.

wallace_easter bunny bluesWallace, Carol  Easter Bunny Blues
40 pp.     Holiday     2009
Trade ISBN 978-0-8234-2162-6

Illustrated by Steve Björkman. Holiday House Readers series. Two dogs work quickly to make a plan when the Easter Bunny comes down with the flu a week before the holiday. Thanks to the chickens’ eggs, the birds’ gathered berries, the squirrels’ tails (as paint brushes) — and a last-minute rally from the bunny himself — they manage to save Easter. This lively story about cooperation features spirited illustrations of helpful animals.

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  1. No MIRACLE MAN? The Horn Book reviewer called it beautiful, accessible, authentic and paradigm-shifting.

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