Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Picture Book Review Rundown: Easter 2023

Here are four Easter titles just in time for the upcoming holiday! 

Pick a Perfect Egg by Patricia Toht, illustrated by Jarvis  

*Review copy courtesy of Candlewick Press 

Writing: Like previous titles by this pair, this is a rhyming book. It celebrates the secular, spring-centric version of Easter. with the dyeing, hiding, and hunting down of colored eggs. As in the previous titles about Halloween and Christmas, this one has some awkward moments in the rhyme and rhythm but is overall very enjoyable to read.
Illustration: The bright, colorful illustrations are the strongest aspect of this book. As in the other holiday titles by Toht and Jarvis, these really evoke the seasonal details, both in terms of weather and the activities the characters participate in. It's a very visually attractive book and stands out on the shelf.
Content: Obviously, there is no religious content in this book so the meaning of Easter is lost. Still, my family dyes eggs and we are not opposed to egg hunts, so we will happily read this book with the understanding that this is something we do for fun on a day of celebration that is about much more than eggs. 
Overall: This is a worthy follow-up to the authors' other books and a beautiful depiction of springtime fun in community with others. 

The Easter Surprise adapted by Tina Gallo

*Review copy courtesy of  Simon Spotlight  

This is a Cocomelon board book, so I'm not going to give it a full review. It borrows the text and images of a song from the Cocomelon show and reproduces them poorly in board book format. It's disappointing how garish the pictures are, and how poorly these screenshots translate to the print format. My toddlers will probably look at this but it will be donated after Easter.

I'm a Little Bunny by Hannah Eliot, illustrated by Liz Brizzi

*Review copy courtesy of Little Simon  

Writing: This is yet another I'm a Little Teapot rendition from Hannah Eliot. It is very, very similar to I'm a Little Pumpkin and I'm a Little Snowman, to the point that it reuses some of the lines from those previous titles. The rhymes are pretty obvious, but the rhythm of the text fits the original song the best of the adaptations I've read by this author.
Illustrations: The pictures in this book feel like they belong in an anime cartoon. There is a lot of movement suggested in each one, and it feels like the entire story could be animated. They include all the typical spring details you find in generic holiday board books.
Overall: This formula is beginning to get old, and I don't think this will be a permanent addition to our holiday collection, especially since we're trying not to add more board books now that the twins are three.

Hope is a Hop by Karina Moore, illustrated by Melissa Iwai

*Review copy courtesy of Dial Books for Young Readers 

Writing: This rhyming reflection on hope for new life in gardens and families has only a very tangential connection to Easter, but it is very pleasant to read aloud. Bunnies and flowers are the only remote connections to the holiday, and yet the theme of hope does somehow feel appropriate. I think the argument could be made that this book sets the right tone for Laetare Sunday, when the Church rejoices in anticipation of the coming Resurrection.
Illustrations: The pictures are charming. They depict a biracial family, their home and garden, and their new baby as well as an adorable family of rabbits. They are warm and sweet and bring the warmth, scents, and sunshine of the spring to life.
Content: This is a book about waiting for good things and celebrating when they arrive. It acknowledges pain and difficulty, such as when the main character can't get her garden to grow, but it also emphasizes that giving up is not the answer.
Overall: This was a pleasant surprise for me. I chose to review it because I enjoy Melissa Iwai's illustrations in Hanna's Christmas by Melissa Wiley and wanted to see another book illustrated by her. I'm very glad I requested it because it has a nice message and portrays strong family relationships. 

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