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Easter

The Religious Festival  
Easter Activity Books 
Chicks and Rabbits   

The Religious Festival
The Road to Easter Day
by Jan Godfrey and Marcin Piwowarksi
(Barnabas - Bible Reading Fellowship)
Starting with the events of Palm Sunday, this picture book tells the whole Easter story up to and including the post-resurrection meeting with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. The text flows easily with some rhythmical repetition and combine well with the colourful illustrations. To add child appeal, the events are seen through the eyes of a Jewish boy called Ben who can be spotted in all the pictures.
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Easter Stories
by Bob Hartman
(Lion)
A collection of twenty three brief episodes through which we are presented with an account of Jesus’ life from Palm Sunday through to the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. In his distinctive, direct style Hartman makes the tales real and accessible while still respecting the essential Christian message behind the stories, even managing to infuse them with touches of humour in places; and his use of the present tense for some of the episodes heightens the drama effectively
An ideal read aloud book for assemblies and other group sessions with plenty of opportunities for audience participation; in fact the final two pages contain helpful tips suggesting ways to involve listeners in the tellings.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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The Story of Easter
by Mary Joslin, illustrated by Jackie Morris
(Lion)
This is an unusual picture book presentation of the Easter story in that it starts in the Garden of Eden, moving on to the Nativity and then into Jesus’ public life, culminating in the crucifixion and resurrection. Morris’s watercolour paintings are dramatic and awe inspiring conveying the charged atmosphere and emotion of the incidents, in contrast to Joslin’s spare unembellished telling. Together they make the story all the more powerful.
For individual reading or group sharing.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Hope and New Life
by Johnny Zucker, illustrated by Jan Barger Cohen
(Frances Lincoln)
This picture book follows one family's celebration of the Easter festival, both religious and secular, and includes building Easter gardens, going to church, eating hot cross buns and hunting for Easter eggs. The illustrations are helpful and attractive and the text is well written, using language appropriate for 8-9 year olds. Our teacher reviewer found it effective to read aloud - her class of 29 listened with interest and understanding.
Useful for KS2 religious education, including children with special needs.
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The Story of the Cross: The Stations of the Cross for Children
by Mary Joslin, illustrated by Gail Newey
(Lion)
Starting with the familiar Christmas story, the first few pages of this book recount the life of Jesus from his birth to his arrest in Jerusalem. It then slows down, telling the rest of the Easter story in 15 double page spread, one for each of the traditional stations of the cross (although it doesn't matter if, like me, you haven't met this concept before). Each spread has a short, child-friendly account of that stage of the story and a simple prayer that highlights what we can learn from it. For example, for the actual crucifixion, the prayer is "Dear God, When I see violent people win, may I continue to believe in peace." This book makes an excellent job of presenting the Easter story in a way that children can understand.
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Easter Activity Books
Easter Days
by Leena Lane and Anna Todd
(Barnabas - Bible Reading Fellowship)
This is more of a puzzle book than a craft book. It combines a clear retelling of the Easter story with full colour illustrations and a variety of puzzles and games designed to hold children's interest and encourage them to look at the pictures in more detail.
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Pocket Money Easter
by Clare Beaton
(b small publishing)
Using simple materials and recycled oddments, this book shows readers how to make easter cards, easter bonnets, decorations and some simple (non-recycled) food. The instructions are easy-to-follow and there are templates to help cut out the necessary shapes.
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Crafty Easter Eggs
by Clare Beaton
(b small publishing)
This book contains a good selection of simple but effective things to make with an Easter theme. Clear, bright pictures and easy to follow instructions make this a useful book for home and school.
Ages 5-7 and older children with special needs
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Easter Cooking
by Rebecca Gilpin and Catherine Atkinson
(Usborne)
Bearing in mind the usual glut of Easter eggs, it's good to see that only two of these fourteen recipes involve chocolate. The others include decorated real eggs, cheesy chicks, marzipan rabbits and a variety of cakes and biscuits. To help young cooks follow the recipes, each step is illustrated with a drawing.
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Chicks and Rabbits
The Cow That Laid an Egg
by Andy Cutbil,l illustrated by Russell Ayto
(Harper Collins)
A bunch of wily hens dupe cow Marjorie into thinking that she has laid an egg. Until that time our gullible Marj. has been feeling decidedly down in the dumps and ordinary at not being able to perform some of the unusual feats of the rest of the herd. Everyone is thrilled at her accomplishment from the press to of course, the tricksters though some have their suspicions that all may not be as it seems. But when the egg hatches, it’s the newly emerged baby that has the final word on the matter.
   This hilarious tale is full of visual and verbal delights that make it a welcome change from standard stories on the 'eggs and chicks' theme. There are puns galore from Moospapers, to bicycling cows and plan-hatching hens to mention but a few. A wining author/artist combination if ever there was one

(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Don’t Count Your Chickens
by Simon Puttock
(Macmillan)
Six year old Ruth May Leghorn’s visit to a chicken show triggers a passion for chickens. She demands some of her own and is given two, (an indulged child, she’s used to getting what she wants). So, two becomes four, four becomes eight and then, despite reservations from both parents and chickens, eight becomes sixteen. Ruth May is ecstatic but not so the hens who run away to the park and their own version of multiplication – free-range style.
A fun way to learn about doubling numbers but underlying this wacky tale is an important message: real love implies giving your loved ones space and freedom to do their own thing. Bright zany, action-packed cartoon like illustrations add to the fun.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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It’s Quacking Time!
by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Jill Barton
(Walker Books) 1 84428 009 8
When Mummy Duck lays an egg one day, Duckling is puzzled; he’s never seen anything like the pale blue thing his mother and father are so excited about. What can it be, he wants to know? So begins a sequence of questions and answers involving Mummy, Daddy, Auntie, Granda and Cousin Small Duck through which Duckling confirms and expands his knowledge and understanding of duck ‘reproducktion’. Next comes the waiting, observing and reporting till finally, ‘tap-tap-tap!’ – from the shell emerges a diminutive version of Duckling to the delight, and much quacking, of all the Duck family.
The lightness and sureness of Waddell’s telling is echoed in the softness and tranquillity of Baron’s watercolour illustrations in this heart-warming celebration of new life and its place in the ever turning cycle of change. A lovely book for sharing at any time, and a reassuring and affirming story for the child awaiting the arrival of a new baby.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Hoppity Skip Little Chick
by Jo Brown
(Little Tiger Press) 1 84506 091 1
Little Chick wants his mum to play with him but on this particular morning, Mother Hen is engaged in warming and protecting her clutch of eggs so she sends Little Chick off to seek other playmates. He meets with geese, a lamb, a pony and a pig, and all of them invite him to join in with their various fun-looking activities. Consequently he whooshes, bounces, jumps, scritch-scratches and rolls his way around the farmyard, then rushes off back to the henhouse to tell his mum about his exploits. There he discovers, not only mum, but also a big surprise - five brand new baby brothers and sisters all ready and waiting to join with him in their own ‘little chick’ bouncing, jumping, rolling, running games.
There is a joie de vivre and a great sense of movement engendered, not only by the bold bright illustrations but also by the use of a dotted line and handwritten onomatopoeic words that are stretched and contorted appropriately to reflect the animals’ perambulations around the farmyard and through the book.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Six Chicks
by Henrietta Branford, illustrated by Thierry Elfezzani
(Collins)
A rotund Red Hen has to use six different settling strategies before her baby chicks are all sound asleep. She sings to them, chats to them, tells stories to them, tucks them in soft shawls, rocks them and even tries a sleepy-time secret spell on the sixth and one by one the brood drop off. All the while they are watched by a fox who makes an appearance on every spread as twilight darkens to moonlight.
There’s lots of lovely alliteration in the text of this picture book and a playfulness in the interaction of the mother hen, chicks and, not least, a pesky, dive-bombing dragonfly portrayed in the muted pastel illustrations.
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Dilly Duckling
by Claire Freedman, illustrated by Jane Chapman
(Little Tiger Press)
During a family waddle Dilly’s attention is on the dragonflies, fish and butterflies rather than keeping up with the other ducks. But then one of her fluffy yellow feathers is whisked away in a gust of wind and off she goes after it. Despite help in the chase from hedgehog Spike and Nibble (mouse) the feather evades her and sadly she returns to the comforting wings of Mummy Duck. Therein she learns of the exciting change in her plumage yet to come, so that even when her lost feather drifts into view, Dilly lets it go, happily anticipating the new growth of adult feathers.
Great fun for sharing with young audiences; and lots of potential for joining in and movement during the telling. Jane Chapman’s vibrant, sunny paintings have great child appeal and there’s a textured feather and/or duck, to find and feel on every spread.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
Ages 2-6
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Once Upon a Time, Upon a Nest
by Jonathan Emmett, illustrated by Rebecca Harry
(Macmillan)
From the start Mother Duck knew that Ruby (so called because she is small and precious) would do things in her own good time; and, long after her siblings, of course she did. Till, when it comes to taking flight, Ruby outflies her brothers and sisters. Mother and Father Duck await her return (it’s father who does the reassuring this time) and finally, in her own time, Ruby does return – a mother herself.
Soft pastel shades and outlines give a misty quality to the illustrations which have a kind of tactile quality ; many of my audience of under fives kept stroking the pages ‘‘trying to feel the downy feathers,’’ as one child put it. The telling of the story and the page layout are such that learner readers might well be able to enjoy reading the story themselves once it has been shared with them. A real winner this: Ruby should certainly find many new friends among early years listeners.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
Ages 2-6
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Oops-a-Daisy!
by Claire Freedman, illustrated by Gaby Hansen
(Little Tiger Press)
Learning new things can be hard – that’s the first lesson Daisy the baby rabbit learns as her attempts at hopping always seem to end with a big bump. But Mama Rabbit helps her to see that new learning is challenging for everyone, especially as there seem to be so many things to remember all at once. However, self-belief and determination eventually win through, and that’s the vital message for young Daisy Rabbit and for all learners (and their teachers).
The love and reassurance offered by Daisy’s Mama and all the other animal parents leaps from the pages of Gaby Hansen’s charming watercolours and the story is a delight to read aloud.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
Ages 2-6
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A Chick Called Saturday
by Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Brita Granstrom
(Picture Corgi)
Seventh of the brood, Saturday is more interested in doing what the ducks, geese and blackbirds can do than following his mother’s instructions or keeping in line with the others; he’s convinced there must be more to life than clucking, scratching, pecking and pulling at worms. So, off he sneaks in search of some excitement. His attempts at joining in with the ducks and geese end in disaster but undaunted he continues his search, aiming higher each day till Friday’s adventure lands splat! in a cowpat. Finally next day he comes eye to eye with a magnificent red-crowned creature sitting on the wall – a creature he is both willing and able to emulate, almost.
An amusing and cleverly crafted tale, to which the delightfully droll watercolour pictures are a perfect complement.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
Ages 2-6
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