Whew! Life has been super busy these last few weeks at the House of Hope, but we have been reading, of course. I’ve pulled out our Easter picture books and we’ve enjoyed some quiet moments on the sofa with them.
I’ve noticed that our Easter picture books fall into two categories: those which incorporate Easter traditions like colored eggs and the Easter bunny with the Resurrection story and those which simply relate the Bible story itself. I like the Bible story ones best, although I do think it’s important to point back to the real meaning of the holiday if you incorporate the traditional parts of the holidays into your celebrations, as we do here in the House of Hope. We spend a good bit of time reading Bible stories at home (plus a devotional reading three times a week or so), and in addition to this, the girls attend Sunday School, a Wednesday night class, and Bible study, so they are taught from the Bible. Perhaps it is for this reason that I almost feel like we are “over” the books that feature Easter baskets and bunnies–my girls know what Easter is really all about. However, I am always on the look out for books that effectively and beautifully tell the Greatest Story Ever Told, so if you know of any, please share!
We currently own three books that attempt to cut through all the Easter extras and get to the heart of the story. What Is Easter? discusses several common Easter traditions like egg hunts, jelly beans, Easter parades, new clothes, and Easter choirs, and then makes the point that “It’s all about God’s son.” This story includes the crucifixion and the resurrection, so it covers the entire message of salvation. Similarly, Let’s Celebrate Jesus on Easter brings up many common Easter activities, but in the end, it brings it all back to Jesus. One thing I particularly like about this book is that each two-page spread includes a related Bible verse.
My favorite, though, of this type of book is My Easter Basket and the True Story of Easter. Each two-page spread in this book relates the colors a child might find in his or her Easter basket to some part of the Easter story. For example, “The white [a stuffed lamb] inside my basket is like the angel bright. . . who gladly said, ‘He’s risen! Our Jesus is all right.'” This is a shaped board book, with die-cut pages and sparkly illustrations.
We have a couple of books that relate the real Easter story in a gentle way. One is The Easter Story by Patricia A. Pingry, illustrated by Mary Ann Utt. This little book, which relates the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection in only about 200 words, would be perfect for the toddler or early preschool crowd. It comes in board book format.
My favorite of the Bible story books that we have that tells the story of Easter is Mary and the Empty Tomb by Alice Joyce Davidson. It is a part of the Zonderkidz My Bible Friends series, and it tells the story of Jesus’ resurrection from the point of view of Mary. This is another picture book written in rhyme. My girls have always found it engaging, and we have been reading this one for several years now. It’s just right for preschoolers.
I must confess, though, that none of these books really excite me. I know, I know–it’s not about me; it’s really about the Read Aloud audience, right? But if the reader isn’t excited about the book, that usually results in a less-than-stellar reading of it. I don’t know if it’s because we’ve been reading all of these for several years now, or if I just feel that my children are beyond the stage of life and development when stories told as simply as these are appealing. I would LOVE to find some beautifully illustrated and written Bible story books (especially stand-alone stories). Surely there are some writers and artists out there who are re-telling these beautiful stories for a slightly older, ‘though still very young, crowd.
I did purchase a couple of new Easter books this year, but we haven’t had a chance to read either one. Actually, I decided that Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs by Melody Carlson might be a little over the heads of my girls, so I’ve decided to save it for use with my nephews or put it off until next year (or the next) entirely. I bought The Story of the Resurrection Eggs in Rhyme and Song at a Miss PattyCake show we attended. We already own and enjoy the Miss PattyCake’s Eggstravaganza dvd, and this book is essentially the same story in book form. Since both of these books are based on the Resurrection Eggs, I thought that the Miss PattyCake book might be a more age-appropriate way to introduce them to my girls this year. Now we just have to find time to do it! I’m purposefully keeping Good Friday open for us to do some fun and meaningful Easter activities, including at the very least this one read aloud.
What about your family? What’s on your Read Aloud shelf for this Easter week? Easter books or not, leave a comment or a link and let us know! Oh, and don’t forget to grab the Read Aloud Thursday button!
Have a blessed Read Aloud Thursday!