We’re Going on an Egg Hunt by Laura Hughes

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We’re Going on an Egg Hunt by Laura Hughes (9781681193144)

This lift-the-flap picture book is a riff on the beloved We’re Going on a Bear Hunt reworked with an Easter theme. Here a family of rabbits head out to find eggs on a lovely spring day. There are ten hidden eggs on the pages and not every flap has an egg hidden behind it. Along the way, the rabbits encounter a series of obstacles and how to navigate things like lambs, bees and ducks. The final very large egg hides a wolf and the rabbits and the reader have to work together to foil him.

Hughes has done a nice job of incorporating the rhythm and structure of the original book into this springy Easter version. Even the obstacles themselves have a springtime theme. The wolf at the end makes for a delightful twist that creates the joy of rushing back through the obstacles in reverse order and returning home just in the nick of time.

The use of flaps is particularly enjoyable when combined with an egg hunt. Children will enjoy lifting the flaps which are fairly sturdy and should survive small hands well. There are surprises underneath some of them and the chance to count upwards to ten as well.

Great for sharing with a small group of children or one-on-one, there will be lots of demand to be the one to lift the flaps because it is such fun. My guess is you will be reading this one again and again. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Bloomsbury.

Review: Here Comes the Easter Cat by Deborah Underwood

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Here Comes the Easter Cat by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Claudia Rueda

Easter books can be so filled with yellow fluffy chicks, bright Easter eggs, and soft bunnies that the become more than a bit stale.  Enter the Easter Cat, a character who offers exactly what was missing in Easter books: cats!  Cat wants to be able to do what the Easter Bunny does and deliver chocolate himself.  But he’s going to have to figure a lot of things out before he begins: what exactly will be deliver?  How will he travel?  What will he wear?  All of those decisions wear him out so he decides to take his eighth nap of the day, after all, he is a cat.  But then he learns that the Easter Bunny never naps at all.  Are all of his plans ruined?  Perhaps he just needs a little help from the famous Easter Bunny himself.

Underwood of The Quiet Book has created an uproariously funny book this time.  Her Cat character doesn’t speak at all, instead the reader quizzes Cat on what exactly he is doing.  Cat communicates through his expressions and holding up signs most of which have cartoon drawings on them outlining his plans.   The words in the book take on the tone of a parent, making it a real delight to read aloud.  The reader can go from cajoling to stern and back again.

Rueda’s illustrations carry much of the storytelling since Cat doesn’t speak.  She manages to convey his emotions very clearly on his face and in his stance.  Cat is a very enjoyable character with big plans that aren’t very well thought out.  This book on the other hand, has illustrations and words that work together flawlessly.

With the humor of Melanie Watt or Elephant and Piggie, this picture book is sure to find an eager Easter audience.  Ideal for perching in baskets, this book is good enough to share all year round.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Dial Books for Young Readers.

Review: Piggy Bunny by Rachel Vail

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Piggy Bunny by Rachel Vail, illustrated by Jeremy Tankard

Liam does not want to be a pig when he grows up, even though he’s a piglet.  Instead, Liam wants to be the Easter Bunny.  Liam even practiced his bunny skills: hopping, eating salad, and delivering eggs.  But they didn’t work out too well.  His family thought that he should just admit he was a pig and move on.  But then his grandmother said that they didn’t have the imagination to see him as a rabbit and that he needed a bunny suit to have them see it.  Unfortunately, the bunny suit doesn’t fit quite right, one ear doesn’t stand up straight, and it itches.  But when Liam looks in the mirror, all of that is forgotten, because he sees — the Easter Bunny!

Vail has created an Easter book that will have appeal far beyond that holiday.  It’s a book about a child with a dream that others can’t even visualize and that child creating it in a way that lets others share his vision.  That solid message is packaged in a very friendly, light-hearted package with lots of appeal.  Her writing is sprightly and fun-filled, inviting children to put on costumes and try new identities.

A large part of the appeal of the book are the illustrations.  Done in thick lines and bright, candy-colored backgrounds, the illustrations are filled with energy and humor. 

A pig in a bunny suit that is as cute as this one will have this book off of library shelves in no time.  Add in the solid storyline and you have a winning Easter book.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Feiwel and Friends.

The Easter Egg

The Easter Egg by Jan Brett

Jan Brett turns her prodigious talents to an Easter story!

Hoppi the rabbit is now old enough to participate in the egg decorating competition.  Each year the rabbits decorate Easter eggs and the winning bunny got to help the Easter Rabbit hide the eggs.  But Hoppi needs a great idea for his egg, so he hops around to visit the other rabbits.  Each bunny is doing something unique and interesting and inspires Hoppi to try their technique.  As he visits, each rabbit offers him a scrap of material or a tool as well as ideas.  Hoppi tries to come up with the perfect idea, but is distracted by the distressed calls of some robins.  One of Mother Robin’s eggs fell out of the nest on onto the forest floor.  Hoppi knew just what he had to do and sat gently down on the egg with his warm fur.  Hoppi sat and sat and sat on the egg, unable to create an egg of his own for the Easter Rabbit.  But the Easter Rabbit knows just what makes the perfect egg for Easter!

Done in her signature style with one main image on a two-page spread and two smaller images on each side, this book celebrates Easter, spring, art and creativity.  It is also about self-sacrifice and giving to the community.  Brett has created a book that never becomes overly sweet.  A large part of this is her attention to minute details that make the rabbits realistic, the forest come alive, and the individual eggs masterpieces.  I also appreciate her use of wild plants and flowers as the framing for the illustrations.  Brett’s use of repetition as Hoppi travels the village of rabbits allows for a real surprise when Hoppi discovers Mother Robin and the egg. 

This book will work well with a group, though the tiny details are worth lingering over and discussing within a family or very small group of children.  Appropriate for ages 3-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Penguin.