How better to get ready for Easter than by reading these three picture books about Easter? Each is special and will be loved for different reasons; each is worth reading with children before and after Easter.
“Here Comes the Easter Cat’ by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Claudia Rueda brings back the same sweet, silly cat who co-opted Christmas (“Here Comes Santa Cat”) and Valentine’s Day (“Here Comes Valentine Cat“) and more. This clever, adorable picture book is about a cat who longs to be the Easter Bunny. He is jealous because everyone loves the Easter Bunny. So the cat explains to the narrator, through facial expressions and a series of signs (the cat doesn’t talk), that he can wear cute clothing and drive a motorcycle (so he can beat the Easter Bunny, who gets around by hopping). However, once the cat leaves for his “Easter Cat” journey, he quickly returns. He needs a nap. “A nap?! You’ve already taken five naps today,” says the narrator. The cat proudly shows a sign with a picture of seven cats napping. “You’ve taken SEVEN? Then you can’t possibly be tired!” The narrator goes on to say that the Easter Bunny doesn’t get to take any naps — at all. Cat is horrified at the thought.
What cat decides to do when the Easter Bunny shows up with an egg for him is precious. Readers will be “oohing” and “ahhing” till the last page. And, of course, there is a slight twist at the end. The illustrations look like pen and ink with some colored pencil. They are very spare, very cartoonish, very effective. There is a lot of white space, and one double-page spread with just the word “Cat?” on it. In spite of the simplicity of the drawings, the emotions of the cat and the Easter Bunny come through loud and clear.
In spite of the primary level of the picture book, there is plenty of character change in the cat. This book would be a great tool for primary teachers to introduce the idea of character change in books. It beautifully illustrates how characters change and grow. (Dial Books)
And what could be more classic than reading “The Night Before Easter” by Natasha Wing on the night before Easter? Wing does a fabulous job recreating the famous “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore and substituting Easter vocabulary for the Christmas language. The rhyme and meter remain the same, and children will like the final result. And as a surprise at the end are Easter stickers for even more fun. It’s a small book, the perfect size for tucking into a diaper bag or backpack. (Grosset & Dunlap)
“Sweet Pea & Friends: The Easter Surprise’ by John and Jennifer Churchman, authors of the 2015 hit picture book “The SheepOver.” “The Easter Surprise” is their fifth book with photos taken on their farm in Essex, Vermont, photos of their beautiful farm animals. In this story, Fern the bunny wakes up and finds that beautiful, decorated eggs are hidden all over the farm. Many of the eggs contain clues about where to look next to find more Easter eggs. Fern and the other animals she visits through the clues end up with a surprise sight at the end of the day.
The photos of the adorable farm animals are what have charmed the legion of fans who love the picture books from the beautiful, bucolic farm. Sharp-eyed children might notice the almost-hidden bunny on each page — the Easter bunny? While the subject of this story is certainly Easter, children will love reading this book over and over to visit all their farm friends and hear about their adventures again. Just remember, in real life, bunnies and chicks belong on farms, not as gifts for Easter! The absolutely adorable bunnies in the story live almost a decade and love to chew and tunnel. Best bet is to visit the bunnies in this book for Easter. (Little, Brown and Company)
And while not a book, per se, “Garden Party Sticker Book” is a perfect Easter gift with its story about a party for Flower Fairies. The text explains that the fairies are getting ready for a party, and the reader is asked to help by placing the stickers where the shaded figures indicate. The last page is the page where the readers can show their creativity by placing the stickers wherever they want. This is a great book to bring as an activity for children while on the road or during a rainy afternoon. (Warne)
Please note: This review is based on the final picture books provided by the publishers for review purposes.