Book Bites: Hunting for the Perfect Easter Picture Book

Over the years, I may have reviewed as many Easter themed picture books as I’ve gobbled Easter eggs…well maybe not quite as many; there’s no accounting for my insatiable appetite for chocolate. It’s that time of year when sweet expectations and spirituality soar. Family converge to celebrate the renewal of life and we pause to welcome new beginnings. Easter is many different things, not least of which an opportunity to share a few less rushed moments together. This Book Bite list is but a sparse suggestion of the many glorious picture books, new and old, that you could share with your young ones this Easter.
Hop Little Bunnies
This utterly alluring lift-the-flap picture book oozes springtime fancy and every cute cuddly countryside baby animal you can think of. Lambs, bunnies, chicks and ducklings bounce along in merry nursery rhyme fashion after our egg-toting bunnies rouse the sleepy youngsters. Bursting with exuberant rhyme, soft springtime colours and an abundance of flaps for little hands to lift and look at, this is a sweet book to share with your infant and toddler this Easter.

Title: Hop Little Bunnies
Author: Martha Mumford
Illustrator: Laura Hughes
Publisher: Bloomsbury, $14.99
Publication Date: February 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781408892930
For ages: 10 months+
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Boomerang Books Bloomsbury Books

The Book Chook
This postmodern picture book takes the ordinary backyard cackleberry creator, aka chook, aka chicken and propels them into a preposterously funny limelight.

Ray, the rooster, experiences an alarming crisis of identity after his best friend, Janine gently points out that he is in fact a book chook. Ray is aghast to discover that his latte-drinking, clothes-wearing, talking tendencies, not to mention his one dimensional form, suggests he is not as real a chook as he always believed.

In true interactive picture book style, Ray implores his young audience (the readers) to get him out of the book until it dawns on him that if he were to vacate, he would no longer be able to communicate with Janine.

Outrageously silly, The Book Chook is a charismatic, well-conceived, joyously executed example of the grass not always being greener outside the chicken coop. McInerney harmonizes fun rhyming text with a zany storyline about friendship and self-acceptance that invites plenty of giggles and audience participation. Brecon’s absurdly likeable illustrations reflect all the ludicrousness and individuality of Ray’s Hawaiian shirts, inviting readers to love who and where they are despite yearnings to the contrary. A bok bok brilliant inspiration for your Easter egg decorating this year.

Title: The Book Chook
Author: Amelia McInerney
Illustrator: Connah Brecon
Publisher: Omnibus Books, $24.99
Publication Date: March 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781742994987
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Boomerang Books

What the Fluffy Bunny Said to the Hungry Hippo
Hippos and bunnies are as an unlikely combination as an egg-eating koala in the savannah and yet in this deliriously sweet Easter egg-hunting tale, it all seems to make sense. Saunders’ dreamy illustrations encourage readers to float along with Crumble’s follow-the-leader narrative as Fluffy Bunny encourages a host of critters to jump, skip, climb, bounce, scoot…well the action verbs continue through fields, hills, and holes as he leads them to a stash of supposedly delicious eggs.

The rewards are huge but the effort to reach them is even bigger until Fluffy’s largest recruit, Elephant, calmly points out a shortcut. I imagine there would have been eggstatic rejoicing but we do not see it for the last pages of this joyful picture book reintroduces us to the dupable Hippo, still searching for his delicious eggs.

Fluffy Bunny provides engaging, Easter-orientated fun for pre-schoolers who may be able to relate this searching story structure with others such as We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

Title: What the Fluffy Bunny Said to the Hungry Hippo
Author: P. Crumble
Illustrator: Chris Saunders
Publisher: Koala Books, $17.99
Publication Date: March 2019
Format: Hardback.
ISBN: 9781742997551
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Boomerang Books

Grace’s Mystery Seed
Touted as a picture book for 5 - 9 year olds probably because of the detailed botanical and biological tangents followed throughout, I believe this nature-orientated picture book is just the thing to keep 3 - 5-year-olds outside and digging through their garden beds, too. That is precisely the age discovery and inquisitiveness not only bud but also blossom unchecked. Toddlers unlocking the mysteries of the world around them are fascinating to behold so sharing Grace's story with them should provide hours of fun and learning for both youngsters and their carers.

Grace is bewitched by her neighbour's verdant garden and spends many congenial hours with Mrs. Marino, whose European name subtly hints at her agricultural ability to make anything grow! Together they plant a mysterious seed and wait for it to germinate. Its subsequent growth is a thing of much speculation and excited anticipation, until one day it unfurls its great glorious blooms revealing its sunny heart.

Sampson dedicated this work to an author she admires as much as the sunflowers she adores. This simple tale of working together, community spirit, nature and patience, coupled with Erasmus' fresh and flowery illustrations ensures a satisfying encounter with the cyclical side of life and reflects the rich diversity of not only a suburban garden but also society as a whole. This story is a perfect vehicle for an Easter discussion about discovery, patience, nature and new beginnings.

Title: Grace’s Mystery Seed
Author: Juliet M Sampson
Illustrator: Karen Erasmus
Publisher: Ford Street Publishing, $ 16.95
Publication Date: March 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781925804218
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Ford Street Publishing, Boomerang Books

Squish Rabbit’s Pet
Squish is a just a little rabbit but he has experienced many big adventures and overcome some significant fears. In this darling new instalment of Squish’s life, we discover his yearning for a pet. Squish believes a puppy would satisfy his dream to have something to cuddle and care for of his very own. His best friend, Twitch studiously attempts to fulfil Squish’s dream but pretend solutions can only do so much. Then Squish finds a beautiful bespeckled egg. He decides to care for the egg and hatch himself a real pet.

As he waits for the egg to hatch, Squish is the diligent would-be pet parent despite his growing impatience. Then, Twitch explains to our naïve little rabbit that puppies do not hatch from eggs not like crocodiles or snakes or even scary chickens do. Squish is beside himself with worry. What will his egg reveal? He is only a little rabbit after all with a dauntingly giant decision to make…

Battersby has done it again, crafting another picture book to treasure with captivating artwork, a clean, punchy storyline and utterly winsome characters. Squish represents all the little humans out there who feel a little unsure of themselves at times, who dream of great things and harbour even greater capacities to love but are not yet well enough resourced or equipped with life to actualise all that they desire.

If you are a fan of small snuggly bunnies, this is the book for you. If Squish already occupies a spot on your bookshelf, you must let his pet join your collection. The spring-shine yellow padded cover of the hardback version of Squish makes reading this book a complete sensory pleasure as are the many cute references to Squish’s previous adventures. A must have for your Easter basket!

Title: Squish Rabbit’s Pet
Author / Illustrator: Katherine Battersby
Publisher: UQP, $21.94
Publication Date: April 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780702260469
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: UQP, Boomerang Books, UQP


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