Easter is my favourite holiday because the chocolate selection is exceptional at this time of year. Cadbury is my go-to brand of chocolate (#notsponsored) and they bring out all the showstoppers in March and April; cream eggs, mini eggs, lil’ scoops, I love them all. As all parents do, I’ve passed along my preferences to my children, so not surprisingly, they are beside themselves with excitement about the impending arrival of the Easter Bunny. In fact, my daughter made an “Easter Bunny Allowed” sign for our window, in case there was any doubt whether he was allowed to break our current quarantining rules.
We’ve also been practicing our Easter egg hunting skills for months now as I’ve been hiding treats, existing toys, and hollow plastic eggs in different rooms of the house, encouraging the kids to brush up on their seeking skills. Another way we’re building the anticipation? Reading Easter books of course. Big thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me these, it’s packages like this that make me realize how lucky I am to be a book reviewer!
For the littlest ones in your house, we have I Believe in Bunnycorns, a board book written by McLean and illustrated by Prisca Le Tande. Similar to the pointlessness of some of our recently acquired unicorn books, this story doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it has quickly become a favourite at our house. It’s about a magical hybrid bunny/unicorn species with connections to the Easter Bunny because there are pastel-coloured eggs decorating each page. Did I mention there are sparkles? There are lots of them, as well as a die-cut flower shape in the corner which my youngest loves pushing his chubby fingers through. And my oldest loves spotting the rainbow horns that are hiding throughout the book, so although the story line is basic at best, this book is sure to be a winner with your kids.
Count Your Chickens by Jo Ellen Bogart, illustrated by Lori Joy Smith is a real treat to read. The illustrations are the stand-out here; it’s almost like a beginner I Spy book, with chickens doing a bunch of fun things, many dressed as certain characters (the skater chicks, the clown chicks, the ‘going on a first date’ chicks). It’s being compared to a Richard Scarry book because of the detailed pictures. The story is loosely based around a family of chicks heading to the county fair and all the fun activities they do there; eating cotton candy, riding the ferris wheel, watching “the dixie chickens” play a set on stage; it’s all adorable. Even better is the end of the book includes a seek and find activity for each page: “How many chickens are in the sack race?”. My daughter is 5 and she still enjoyed the hunt, but it could work for kids as young as 3.
Although not explicitly an Easter book, Count Your Chickens has a distinct spring-time feel with bright colourful pictures and a gorgeous yellow-checkered book spine, so it’s a nice (chocolate-free) way to get the kids excited about the new season.
Natasha Wing’s The Night Before Easter, illustrated by Kathy Couri is the book my daughter and I are most excited about. As the title suggests, it’s a fun re-write of the famous T’was the Night Before Christmas poem, but it’s all about the Easter bunny instead. Unlike Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny works alone; he is a dapper bunny who hops with grace and pushes a cart full of Easter eggs, and different from other bunnies, he walks on two legs!
I love the imagination of this story because it helps answer kids’ questions about Easter bunny logistics while still retaining that sense of mystery. It doesn’t go so far as to explain how the bunny can make it to each house but it follows him as he inspects each and every egg, which is a lovely thought for adults and children alike. And no matter how old I get, I can still recall my shivers of excitement the night before Easter when I was young; it’s a night that’s almost as exciting at the night before Christmas, especially for a chocolate-lover like myself. The artwork is appropriate to the text but does not overshadow the story. And my daughter’s reason for loving this book? It includes stickers (insert eye roll here). Her book reviewing tastes aren’t quite as discerning as mine yet, but we’re getting there.
Happy Easter everyone! For those who are celebrating other holidays this weekend, I wish you all the best too, and hopefully we all get a chance to enjoy some chocolate over the next few days.