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Get into the spirit of egg hunts and bunny rabbits with these Easter picture books

Posted April 6

Easter is just around the corner, and children everywhere are excited for egg hunts and a visit from an elusive bunny who will leave behind presents and treats for all to enjoy. Get into the spirit this spring with some of these beautiful, amusing Easter picture books.

"OTTER LOVES EASTER," by Sam Garton, Balzer & Bray, $9.99 (ages 4-8)

Another entry in the long-running Otter series, "Otter Loves Easter" by Sam Garton brings an Easter theme to Otter's antics and life lessons. In this installment, Otter receives many delicious treats for Easter, but his keeper wants him to share with his friends (aka toys). But, for Otter, "sharing is very hard. Because eating chocolate is very easy."

After gorging himself on chocolate, Otter feels bad and decides to throw an Easter egg hunt for his friends and thus learns how much more fun he can have when he shares.

This comical story filled with cute, friendly illustrations (including Otter wearing bunny ears and a backpack) is one any candy-loving child will enjoy.

"THE EASTER EGG," by Jan Brett, Putnam, $8.99 (ages 3-5)

"The Easter Egg" by Jan Brett was originally published in 2010 but is now available in a board book edition for the Easter season. Made easier to hold and more durable for younger readers, it tells the story of Hoppi, who wants to make the best Easter egg possible for the Easter Bunny. He goes to lots of friends for inspiration and creative advice but in the end, his good heart is all he really needed.

Brett's classic, detailed illustrations are the kind that can be stared at for several minutes, just to find every egg, bird and flower hidden within. Combined with its touching ending, this is a book for parents and children to be enthralled in together.

"THE STORY OF THE EASTER BUNNY," by Katherine Tegen, illustrated by Sally Anne Lambert, Harper, $7.99 (ages 4-8)

Also available for the first time as a board book, "The Story of the Easter Bunny" by Katherine Tegen was published in 2005. Now younger readers can handle the pages of the origin story of the Easter Bunny.

A "round old" man and woman decorated and made chocolate eggs and delivered them to all the children on Easter, until one year they sleep in and their little rabbit knows it's his turn to step up.

This sweet story has a fairy tale-like quality that should help satisfy a child's curiosity about where the famous Easter Bunny comes from and why he brings presents and treats to children's homes.

"THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR'S EASTER COLORS," by Eric Carle, Grosset & Dunlap, $8.99 (ages 3-5)

This simple board book take Eric Carle's classic illustrations and techniques and lays them out in the colors and themes of Easter and springtime. "The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Easter Colors" is an easy way to teach colors to children — and a good quick book to pick up when a child is perhaps demanding to be read to for the fifth time in an hour.

"WE'RE GOING ON AN EGG HUNT," by Laura Hughes, Bloomsbury, $17.99 (ages 3-6)

"We're Going on an Egg Hunt" by Laura Hughes is the kind of book even nonreaders will be able to "read" as the repetitive pages and easy-to-remember progression of events will be quickly memorized. The fun, colorful illustrations include flaps that children can lift to help the bunnies in the story find the hidden eggs, counting as they go, with a few surprises along the way. There's also plenty of onomatopoeia for kids to participate in making animal noises and easily get drawn into the story.

"FANCY NANCY AND THE MISSING EASTER BUNNY," based on the creation of Jane O'Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, Harper, $4.99 (ages 4-8)

Any fans of Fancy Nancy will be pleased by this Easter-themed edition that includes French translations and vocabulary lessons alongside a mystery that needs solving.

"Fancy Nancy and the Missing Easter Bunny," based on the creation of Jane O'Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, tells the story of Nancy's fancy classroom bunny rabbit, Nibbles, who goes missing during their Easter egg hunt. Nancy has to follow the clues and find Nibbles before it's too late.

"EGG," by Kevin Henkes, Greenwillow, $17.99 (ages 4-8)

"Egg" by Kevin Henkes is a simple, repetitive, comic book formatted story that takes a humorous look at some hatching eggs — some that turn out predictably and some that bring surprises. But friendships and heartwarming feelings win out in the end.

Get into the Easter spirit with this book filled with colorful eggs and birds that might get children excited for what could be inside their own egg-hunting discoveries.

"HOW TO BE A BIGGER BUNNY," by Wendell and Florence Minor, HarperCollins, $14.99 (ages 4-8)

When Tickles' bunny brothers and sisters all run off without her one morning, she decides to spend her time reading books under a tree. What she learns from books like "How to Be a Bigger Bunny" end up helping not only her but also her family.

"How to Be a Bigger Bunny" by Wendell and Florence Minor is something of a disjointed story with a fuzzy moral lesson at the end, but most of the illustrations are lovely and young rabbit lovers will likely be thrilled.

Email: mbulsiewicz@deseretnews.com

Twitter: mgarrett589

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