I was reading a blog post last night about how parents go overboard with Easter. Huge baskets filled with huge toys, etc… I don’t pretend to care how other parents choose to celebrate Easter (or not celebrate it!). But I will offer up some wonderful books for you to pop into those baskets. These Easter books for 3-year-olds aren’t JUST for 3-year-olds. But since I teach 3-year-olds, I can confidently say these are good choices for that age group. While some of these books do not speak about Easter explicitly, they have bunnies in them which is great for those of you who celebrate with egg hunts and Easter bunnies. But some of them are without Jesus and resurrection. Something for all Easter celebrations.
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White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker is a classic in my mind and if you have never read it, you must. Instead, it’s a brilliant book and lesson about color mixing. The cover illustration of the bunny in the paint always makes me think of dying Easter eggs which are another great opportunity to teach about color mixing. Kids love this book and adults reading it will enjoy the fun, and dynamic language used to describe the vibrant colors that the bunny plunges into.
The ABC Bunny by Wanda Gag was first published in 1933 and is delicious! Readers follow along with a little bunny all the way from a to z! The rhyming text is bouncy and fully engaged my son. I thought the black and white pictures would throw him off. But he loved them and didn’t notice that there was no color. They were beautifully done, and that was all that mattered. I love the language used as the words dash, gale and jaunty. Good books are good books no matter when they were written, and readers will always love them, I loved this book.
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, although he was much more into the illustrations of butterflies in the first and last few pages.
Llama Llama Easter Egg by Anna Dewdney is a very simple board book that will be a perfect addition to my quiet reading time basket. The pictures tell the story. The simple rhyming text is sweet, and young children can read the pictures independently and understand the plot. What I love about this simple Easter story is that it’s not just about chocolate and candy, the bigger story is about an egg that isn’t part of the hunt! 1-3-year-olds will enjoy this little book.
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) but then they 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 four-year-old son loved 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 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 four-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. The book has a few loose ends I really wish would be tied up. 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. Paint fell on them before he gave them to her, and they get colored 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.
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney is a modern classic. I am not sure that any book that has inspired a generation or two of parents to tell their kids that they love them “To the moon and back.” can be anything but. My daughter loves this book and the unconditional love that it portrays. I am not as big a fan. Please don’t hate me. I get that a child can never know how much a parent loves them. Just thinking about how much I love my kids brings tears to my eyes (seriously I am tearing up writing this). But Big Nut Brown Hare just won’t let the little bunny win. My opinion doesn’t matter though because my kids love it so much that I have read it more times than I can count! This is a great Easter basket addition for any 3-year-old!
The Story of Easter by Patricia A. Pingry was the text I was expecting and hoping What is Easter would have. I am just glad it will be added 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. 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 is getting tired and a little bored of his polka dot design for the eggs. He decides to send out his assistants in search of new designs. The little bunnies head out with one egg and paints to all different places to find inspiration. When one of the little bunnies is captivated by the night sky she doesn’t notice how dark it is and how lost she has gotten. The Easter Bunny and his other assistants find her and in the morning the new designs are celebrated.
My son loves an inside look at any sort of secret places like the Easter Bunny’s or Santa’s workshop. So he was drawn into this book immediately. The illustrations and how detailed they were, got me excited about Easter!
Wee Little Bunny by Lauren Thompson is such a sweet little book that just oozes spring! Readers get to follow along with the wee little bunny as it frolics around with other animals and plays the day away. After a long day, the bunny returns to its happy place to snuggle with its mama. Toddlers will connect with the bunny and this sweet little story. The illustrations by John Butler will make you want to reach into the pictures and try to pet the bunny’s soft fur; they are that vibrant!
The Night Before Easter by Natasha Wing is an Easter version of the classic “Twas The Night Before Christmas”. With fun pictures and an Easter Bunny so joyful, I wanted to apply for his job. This book was a hit at our house. My son was engaged through the whole book. He was 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.
Which title did I leave out? Tell me all about it on No Time For Flash Cards Facebook page, or leave a comment below!
For more quick tips on helping your child learn to read check out my book; Raising A Rock-Star Reader. It is packed with fun ideas for families, book lists, and advice for parents.