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Posted by Kate, April 22, 2011

Children’s Books for Easter

We’re in the run-up to Easter (and Passover’s begun – any good childeren’s versions of the Haggadah, people?), so it seemed interesting to ask people for their Easter and, more generally, spring book recommendations.

EASTERSPECIFIC TITLES

It seems that the most impressive – to me – children’s book telling the story of Easter, Jan Pienkowski’s Easter, is out of print. It combines King James Bible words with Jan’s trademark silhouettes against a marbled background.

@dredgewood suggested The Story of Easter by Christopher Doyle.

Tom, who’s interning here, and whose photography skills I’ve already roundly mocked, suggested that the great Easter children’s book is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. I looked puzzled. “But it’s about a world where it’s always winter and never Christmas,” I said. He reminded me of the Christian allegory of Aslan’s self-sacrifice for Edmund’s betrayal. Ahem. He is right, of course… though, as ever, I tend to see children’s books through the lens through which a child might look at it, and I don’t think that many 10 year olds will clock that allegory.

SPRING TITLES MORE GENERALLY

Widening the search beyond Easter-specific titles, I asked Twitter followers about spring and chick ‘n’ bunny books.

There were a few generally spring-like suggestions.

@sarah_hilary proposed The Secret Garden, which is, after all, about a physical and metaphorical, transition from winter to early summer.

And, if we’re going general – and as maybe I’m thinking about it because of the current almost-full moon – what about The Very Hungry Caterpillar?

BOOKS WITH CHICKS, EGGS ETC

I had the following suggestions that were poultry-based:

@prestonrutt suggested Ed Vere’s Chick.

@Discover_Story suggested The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett.

@AliB68 reminded me of The Spring Song in Tales from Moominvalley by Tove Jansson.

@hoorayforbooks suggested Shen Roddie’s Hatch, Egg, Hatch.

Oh, Dylan by Tracey Corderoy (author of Nosy Crow’s Hubble Bubble, Granny Trouble and illustrated by Tina McNaughton was suggested by @LFoxIllustrator.

@cethanleahy remembered that there’s an Easter egg story in Brer Rabbit Plays a Trick and Other Stories.

@KatApel proposed Chickens Aren’t The Only Ones by Ruth Heller.

@AnneRooney mentioned Mrs Goose’s Babies by Charlotte Voake.

@Alex_T_Smith suggests Egg by, um, Alex T Smith, but that boy’s got talent so here is what he himself describes as a “shameless plug”.

And @Emmad77 reminded me of Charlie The Chicken by Nick Denchfield and Ant Parker that I published and, I seem to remember, wrote the text for.

My own chick/duckling/gosling list would include the following:

The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen.

Make Way For Ducklings, the classic American picture book.

For my children, Rod Campbell’s Buster’s Farm was a first introduction to the idea that hens laid eggs, and Benji Davies’s Bizzy Bear something similar in Bizzy Bear: Fun on the Farm.

And I’d add a personal favourite, Ruby Flew Too by Jonathen Emmett and Rebecca Harry – read it as a parent and blub.

BOOKS WITH BUNNIES

There were some fine bunny-based suggestions too:

Camilla suggested Guess How Much I Love You (the office copy of which she’s just taken home to read aloud).

@prestonrutt suggested Emily Gravett’s The Rabbit Problem.

@dredgewood suggested The Country Bunny & The Gold Shoes by Du Bose Heyward.

Not a rabbit, but a hamster (so here because displaying impeccable rodent credentials and also because it has Easter in the title), was remembered fondly by @amandapollard, whose Haffertee’s First Easter by Janet and John Perkins was a Sunday School gift, “and undoubtedly the highlight of 8 years endured”.

@sarah_hilary suggested The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Wiliams (again, I think of this, in my literal-minded way as a Christmas book more than an Easter book) and it got two other votes too, so it made the list, on condition that no other edition than the William Nicholson illustrated edition is given house room, and I do love it.

Kate Burns suggested You’re a Hero, Daley B by Jon Blake, which was one of the first books that Axel Scheffler illustrated.

My own list would include:

Axel Scheffler’s Pip and Posy and The Super Scooter (of course!), which not only features a very fine rabbit (Pip) but also feels very spring-like. As Julia Eccleshare says of this book in her round-up of new children’s books for this Easter in The Guardian, “Scheffler’s illustrations are full of comfort and gentle humour”.

Little Rabbit Foo Foo by Michael Rosen and Arthur Robins (just typing it makes me smile).

Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (and @publishingmum mentioned Peter Rabbit too)

ACTIVITY BOOKS

There’s lots of spring/Easter activity stuff out there.

The very fine website, Parents in Touch, has done a post on spring and Easter activity books here

Also on the activity books theme, when I asked on Twitter for Easter book recommendations, Usborne amusingly simply sent me a link to their homepage and therefore all of their books. However, it is true that they have an awful lot of Easter titles here. When pressed, their tweeter selected First Activities: Easter Fun as their favourite Usborne Easter book.

A RELUCTANT AFTERTHOUGHT

And finally, I am, with a stone in my stomach, forced, too, to acknowledge that several people pointed out that the weekend following the Easter weekend is the Royal Wedding weekend (maybe this is just sour grapes: I will be flying to Australia). The Perfectly Pretty Royal Wedding Book was suggested by Scholastic, which I’d have ignored (sorry, Alyx), except that @librarymice said she was giving it to her daughter as part of her Easter book bundle. So here it is, included with a bit of a sigh.

So what’s missing from this list? Do let us know by sending us a comment.