We love chocolate, we love jelly beans but we love books even more. Every Easter we put at least one book in the Easter basket. Sometimes they are Easter themed like these sometimes they are about cars and trucks, animals or princesses. The important part is that we are slipping books in as treats wherever we can. Here are some great books about Easter to read before and after the bunny hops over to your house. Also, pop over to Scholastic Parents and check out my latest post about creating a book hunt. Just like Easter egg hunt only you find books and read them as you go along.
The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown is one of those books I have clear memories of from childhood. The thing is I don’t really remember the story so much as the cover. In this case, it’s ok to judge a book by its cover because although the ending has always seemed tacked on to me I enjoyed this simple and cute book about a bunny and the egg that he finds. My son liked it too. Though he was much more into the illustrations of butterflies in the first and last few pages.
The Best Easter Prize by Kristina Evans is a sweet (maybe too sweet) book about doing the right thing. It’s Easter morning and after church is a big Easter egg hunt and whoever finds the most wins the prize. At first, our heroine can’t find any. But then she hits the jackpot only to find a crying friend who has an empty basket. Of course, she offers her some of her eggs (sweet). They then cross the finish line holding hands (too sweet). My dislike of sickly sweet picture books aside the story as a whole is cute. My kids enjoyed it and the lesson is valuable.
What Is Easter? by Michelle Medlock Adams was a bit disappointing for us. I love her “What is Christmas” book and vaguely remember liking this the first time I read it (and gave it a good but not detailed review) so I grabbed this for my daughter’s Easter basket before re-reading it. Ooops. Live and learn. Sometimes, authors you love make books you won’t. This book takes a Christian viewpoint vs the many secular Easter books focusing on egg hunts and the Easter bunny. The book explains the facts about Easter and how it’s the celebration of Jesus’s death and resurrection. It starts out noting all the secular aspects of the holiday and how they are fun but are not the real reason you celebrate.
Where it lost my son and I was when it said that Jesus was crucified on a tree. You don’t have to be Christian for that to make you say WHAT? My son interrupted my reading and said: “You are tricking. No, he died on a cross!” (Glad he listens in church!) So I discussed it on Twitter and while the poetry of it is apparent as a mom and former Sunday School teacher let’s give the kids the basics and then branch out into discussions about interpretations etc… later. If you have this book I’d love to hear your take.
Interestingly as I said I reviewed this book years ago and gave it a positive review and didn’t mention the tree, nor do I remember it being an issue. My only explanation is I read it as poetic language and as an adult, it didn’t phase me, and as a toddler, my son didn’t stop me reading it like he did today at 4.
Ollie’s Easter Eggs (a Gossie & Friends book) by Olivier Durea is a cute book about friends working hard on dyeing their Easter eggs, well all but one Ollie who is playing and looking incredibly adorable in bunny ears while the others work hard. However, Ollie may have missed out on dyeing the eggs but he makes up for it by masterminding a true egg hunt! My 4-year-old son loved this book and how sneaky Ollie was as he snatched the hidden dyed eggs and re-hid them! Cute addition to this popular series.
Where Are Baby’s Easter Eggs? by Karen Katz is a great way of having an Easter egg hunt while reading a story. If you aren’t familiar with the “Where are Baby’s…” series of life the flap books, they are simple books where the reader searches for an item finding other things first before finally finding the title object, in this case, Easter eggs. My daughter loves these books and plays with them even when we aren’t reading them together. I love the bright illustrations and the simple holiday theme.
The Biggest Easter Basket Ever by Steven Kroll is another story about cooperation and how two helpful hands are better than one, and a whole bunch of hands is way better! Clayton and Desmond both want to win the town’s biggest Easter basket competition but after making their own baskets they sneak a peek at the competition and realize they don’t stand out. Luckily as the story progresses they figure out working together is key. My son loved this book but some younger friends (young 4-year-olds) lost interest in the middle. I love this author and I love how working together is presented in a practical way instead of simply because it’s the right thing because I think the former is easier for young kids to grasp.
Peter Rabbit’s Happy Easter by Grace Maccarone is an interesting tale about how Peter Rabbit became the Easter Bunny. However, I found a few loose ends. But before I get to that let me give you a quick taste of the book. The story is how Peter wants to make his mom forgive him for being naughty so he steals (although he doesn’t see it that way) eggs from neighboring farms to give her as a gift. Before he gives them to her paint falls on them and they become all different beautiful colors. His mom tells him not to steal and so he returns them at night becoming the Easter Bunny.
Ok here are my issues… I don’t mind naughty characters, in fact, I usually really enjoy them but sneaking back to return something you stole without apologizing left a bad taste. I know why the author wrote it like that to turn him into the Easter Bunny but it still didn’t sit well with me. The illustrations by David McPhail really stole the show, I thought they were beautiful.
The Story of Easter by Patricia A. Pingry was the text I was expecting and hoping What is Easter would have. I am happily adding it to our family library soon. This book does a fantastic job at explaining the holiday of Easter, it’s origins and traditions on the level of kids still young enough to read a board book. It doesn’t hurt that the church in it looks identical to ours and my son was so excited that our church was in the book! I also appreciated the diversity in the illustrations.
The Best Easter Eggs Ever! by Jerry Smath is my favorite book in this pack. The story follows the Easter bunny and his 3 young assistant bunnies as they prepare for their big day. The Easter Bunny, bored with his polka dot egg design, sent his assistants out in search of new designs. The little bunnies head out with one egg and paints to all different places to find inspiration. One little bunny didn’t notice how dark it was or how lost she had gotten because she was captivated by the night sky. The Easter Bunny and his other assistants find her and, in the morning, celebrate the new designs.
My son loves an inside look at any sort of secret places like the Easter Bunny’s or Santa’s workshop. The book drew him in immediately. The illustrations and how detailed they were, got me excited about Easter.
The Night Before Easter by Natasha Wing is an Easter version of the classic “Twas The Night Before Christmas”. This book was a hit at our home with fun pictures and an Easter Bunny so joyful I wanted to apply for his job. My son stayed engaged through the whole book. Guessing at the rhymes and listening intently from one page to the next. Of all the books this was the only one that really engaged my toddler as well. She pointed out animals and loved the little boy in the book. Great Easter book.This post contains affiliate links.
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Every Easter picture book list I’m reading is missing the best Easter book The Country Bunny and the Golden Shoes. A classic.
Sorry to comment under yours, but I couldn’t find where to add a comment.
You should also add What Does a Bunny, a Chicken, and Colorful Eggs Have to do with Easter? by Cat Blount
Molly Marie says
I just wanted to respond to your comments on the book, “What is Easter?” and the fact that they use the phrase, “Jesus died on a tree.” I appreciated when I was made aware of something regarding that phrase, so I thought I would share.
First of all, that phrase is straight from the Bible and is used a number of times – that Jesus died on a tree, and it has extreme significance being written that way. One of the neatest reasons being this: Adam and Eve’s interaction with a tree (in the Garden of Eden) brought sin and death. But Jesus’ interaction with a tree (in the Garden of Gethsemane) brought forgiveness and life! It’s a beautiful comparison! I hope to try to explain this to my 3 and 4-year-old this week; they often seem to be capable of understanding more than I expect.
I’ve never read the book “What is Easter?”, but perhaps it would be a springboard to talk about the neat plan of God to have Jesus die “on a tree.”
But joy of joy: He has risen!
Allison McDonald says
Thank you! With so many biblical interpretations I have not read it but I love that you took the time to come and share.
Thank you for this list. My favorite picture book about Jesus’ life, crucifixion, and resurrection is The Light of the World by Katherine Patterson. It doesn’t mention Easter, it accurately and genuinely portrays Jesus and the illustrations are beautiful.
A great Easter book my grand daughter and pre school class loves is… The Legend Of The Unbreakable Egg. It has beautiful pictures a sweet storyline with a moral at the end.
Danna Coffey says
This is a good list but I would add 3 more… The Easter Hunt by Sarah Reid Chisholm. God’s Easter Plan by Carol Greene and Hope and New Life: An Easter Story by Jonny Zucker. All three are great for a wide range of ages and the Easter Hunt is something you can recreate at home.
Catherine @ Story Snug says
The Night Before Easter is our favourite Easter picture book. We love it so much that we read it all year round 🙂
Thank you for the list of Easter books. Wishing you and yours a Blessed Holy Week and a Joyous Easter.
Marilyn and family
Allison McDonald says
Thank you, I hope your Easter was lovely!