Our Favorite Books to Welcome Easter and Spring
It will come as no surprise that we have a fairly extensive home library for our boys. To avoid total book overload, I tend to rotate seasonal books in and out throughout the year. I recently pulled out our titles for Easter and spring, and thought I would share some of our favorites with you. If your Easter Bunny is still busy gathering goodies to fill baskets, any of these paired with my simple spring tangrams would be a great start! (And if you have Amazon prime, you’ve got still time to order!)
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There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Chick!
written by Lucille Colandro, illustratred by Jared Lee
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Chick! is a part of one of #thebigone’s favorite series. He pretty much loves anything with an ick factor. This series celebrates all sorts of occasions in the style of the old lady who swallowed a fly. The rhymes in each volume ultimately end with the old lady vomiting- an instant hit with my kiddo. In this fanciful version, the old lady swallows all sorts of Easter goodies, and then hops until a full assembled basket comes flying from her belly. It’s fun and silly, and will keep kids giggling.
Little Bunny’s Easter Surprise
written by Jeane Modesitt, illustrated by Robin Spowart
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I often choose books initially based on their illustrations. This was the case with Little Bunny’s Easter Surprise. We already owned Mama, If You Had a Wish, from the same author and illustrator. I love the light, chalky renderings of sweet little bunnies in both. Little Bunny’s Easter Surprise is a sweet story about Little Bunny, who gets to surprise her family on Easter morning. Since #thelittleone joined our family, #thebigone has relished his role as a big brother, so I knew he would love to see Little Bunny hiding a basket for Baby Bunny in particular.
Llama Llama Easter Egg
by Anna Dewdney
Our family has been huge fans of Anna Dewdney for many years. We’re especially fond of the Llama Llama series. (We actually used to read Llama Llama Wakey-Wake to #thebigone every morning before pulling him out of his crib, and would finish our days with Llama Llama Nighty-Night each night!). Llama Llama Easter Egg is a quick, bright read about Llama Llama celebrating Easter with his family and friends. It is a board book, which makes it sturdy for little fingers to hold. The text is brief, to capture short attention spans. The painterly illustrations are beautiful and colorful- I can never get over how much personality Dewdney was able to convey in her work.
Little White Rabbit
by Kevin Henkes
Kevin Henkes is another author/illustrator that our family can not get enough of. We first read Julius, the Baby of the World to #thebigone while I was pregnant with #myrunawaybunny, and we’ve been hooked ever since. Little White Rabbit is a cheerful little boardbook about an imaginative rabbit that will have kids pretending to be rocks and butterflies. Henkes’ airy, light illustrations have a distinctive spring-time feel.
Max’s Easter Surprise
Grosset & Dunlop / Rosemary Wells
In my (not-so-expert) opinion, you can’t talk about Easter or bunnies without at least a brief mention of Max & Ruby. The sister & brother rabbit duo best known for basically never having parental supervision (aside from occasional visits from Grandma) were favorites of #thebigone when he was young. In Max’s Easter Surprise, the siblings are working to decorate Easter eggs. Max takes a fanciful approach to creating an Easter parade, which is sure to inspire some imaginative Easter play in your homes as well.
Mary Had a Little Lamb
written by Sarah Josepha Hale, photo-illustrations by Bruce McMillan
Although this is technically not an Easter or spring book, it still feels entirely appropriate. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I think ‘spring’, my mind tends to include fuzzy baby animals like chicks and lambs. Mary Had a Little Lamb is a photo-illustrated book of the classic nursery rhyme. I love that the photos add a modern touch to a classic song. The text is perfect for pre- or very early readers, as they essentially just need to recite the nursery rhyme to successfully ‘read’ the book. I picked it up initially as a reading confidence booster for #thebigone, and it definitely did the trick!
Hank Finds an Egg
by Rebecca Dudley
Also not technically spring or Easter themed, Hank Finds an Egg does focus around an egg, which is why I picked it up for #thebigone on Easter. Rebecca Dudley has created an absolutely beautiful book about a sweet little creature named Hank. Hank happens across a stray egg and goes to great lengths to return it to it’s nest. The book is without text, which makes it perfect for little ones who are not yet reading. Wordless books are the perfect way to encourage storytelling, as well as ‘reading the pictures’ which is an important pre-reading skill. Hank Finds an Egg features stunning photographic illustrations of small scenes created by Dudley- the whole book feels as though you are peeking into a magical little forest diorama, and I can’t get enough of it.
Owen’s Marshmallow Chick
by Kevin Henkes
Yes, it’s another recommendation from Henkes- don’t be surprised, I told you we love him! Owen’s Marshmallow Chick is one board book in a series that centers around Henkes’ classic characters & their sweet treats. The repetitive text is great for young listeners who will be able to predict what happens next. Owen is as cute as any of Henkes’ little mice, and watching his love develop for his yellow marshmallow chick is just so cute. (Seriously, guys- adorable mouse, in footed jammies, holding his blankie, and kissing his marshmallow chick good night?! Does it get better than that?!)
Bright Baby Touch And Feel
I originally purchased this sturdy board book for #thebigone’s first spring in 2011. Five years later, it’s still in great shape, despite being read over and over by both of my boys. It’s a bright interactive book with clear, simple images that relate to spring on each page. The illustrations make it perfect for prompting speech with toddlers. The touch and feel aspect engages them and adds a sensory component to reading time. The entire series is a hit in our home, and I’m sure your little ones will feel the same way.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Frog!
written by Lucille Colandro, illustrated by Jared Lee
Yup, here’s another repeat on the list. I can’t help it guys- we like what we like. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Frog! again follows the rhyming scheme of the old lady who swallowed a fly. This version finds the old lady swallowing all sorts of springy items. Honestly, it’s one of the grosser versions I have seen so far, finding her belly full of dirt, worms, bugs, and a frog. Ultimately, she elicits laughter from my kiddos when she burps up a spring garden. It’s a funny and engaging book, perfect for kids who like just a touch of ‘ick’ with their reading.
And Then It’s Spring
written by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
This was a recent purchase for our family, and it was the illustrations that hooked me again. (Erin E. Stead is well known for the illustrations in A Sick Day for Amos McGee, so the style may be familiar to you). And Then It’s Spring follows a young boy from the end of winter to the arrival of spring. He prepares his garden while brown is still all around him, and waits week by week for the green of spring to come. It’s a cute story to include when you are focusing on either the spring season, or plants/gardening with your kids.
written by Linda Glaser, cut-paper illustrations by Susan Swan
I have to confess, I’m a total sucker for cut-paper illustrations, which is why we own this book. I could look at it for hours, even without the text, because I find that art form incredible. (And secretly, I like to think I’d be good at it, but really, who knows?!) However, the story written in It’s Spring! is lovely as well, making it a perfect addition to any home library in spring. The text is full of descriptive phrases, novel vocabulary, and hints at the sensory experiences of the season- scents, sounds, sights, etc. This would be a perfect read to pair with a spring time sensory nature hunt, or perhaps as inspiration for a nature collage as a nod to the cut-paper style.
Junie B., First Grader: Dumb Bunny
written by Barbara Park, illustrated by Denise Brunkus
Although #thebigone still enjoys having picture books read to him some evenings, and will happily read them out loud to his little brother, he’s actually becoming quite the independent bookworm. In his own reading time, he tends to now prefer chapter books, so I’m including a favorite Easter book for his age range as well. Junie B. Jones is a character we love for her silly, sassy nature- I see a lot of #thebigone in Junie. Junie B., First Grader: Dumb Bunny shows Junie and her friends celebrating the Easter holiday with an egg hunt- with Junie as the Easter Bunny! This series is perfect for readalouds as well as independent readers. (And seriously, the audio versions are hysterical, and perfect for road trips!)