Kids of all ages, including young-at-heart adults, will enjoy “The Easter Egg” written and illustrated by Jan Brett. What a delightful book to share with children this Easter season! Besides that, the book can be left out on a coffee table for everyone to enjoy. Adults will be amazed at the illustrations that can only be described as “exquisite.”
The layout of all of Brett’s books is similar. A large illustration within borders, in this book made from the branches of spring trees, takes up most of a two-page spread, but there’s enough room in the left, right, and top margins for other drawings which provide further details to the story’s plot.
As this book begins, the reader finds a “cameo” drawing of a sign in the left margin. The sign lets the reader know that he or she is about to enter Rabbit Town. It’s early spring so both mature and uncurled ferns decorate the sides and top of the pages. In a cameo at the right, a colorful robin sings a spring song. At the top of the page, another robin is perched on a branch.
The main illustration is a bunny’s home. There’s lots of detail in the drawing — right down to the acorns that adorn the bunny’s bedposts.
The bunny’s name is Hoppi, and he’s excited because it’s time to decorate his first-ever Easter egg.
During this time of the year all of the bunnies decorate Easter eggs. The day before Easter, the bunnies take all of their eggs to the glen where they are loaded into Easter Rabbit’s wagon. They will be hidden for the children to find on Easter morning, but first Easter Rabbit finds his favorite egg. The creator of the egg gets to help him hide the eggs.
So this year Hoppi hopes he will be the one selected to help hide the eggs. First, however, he has to get an idea for his egg. He starts out walking around through Rabbit Town to see what the other bunnies are creating.
First he spots Flora Bunny, an Angora rabbit. She’s potting wild flowers in several colored eggs. Flora Bunny wears a red and white print dress and even has her gloves on so that she can work in the soil. Hoppi thinks that Easter Rabbit will love colorful flowers so he starts to pick some for his egg. Flora kindly offers Hoppi a basket for his flowers.
Next, Hoppi finds Buster Birch carving a wooden egg. Buster Birch puts some wood in Hoppi’s basket so he, too, can make a wooden egg. Then aunt Sassyfrass, a Lop rabbit, gives Hoppi some chocolate squares so he can make a chocolate egg like hers. She’s decorating the egg with squiggles and bows.
The story continues in this manner. All of the bunnies generously share their materials with Hoppi. On each two-page spread, cameo illustrations show the reader what kinds of Easter eggs the other bunnies are making, and their creations are pretty incredible. In all, there are striped and polka-dotted eggs, a seashell egg, gold and silver eggs, an egg decorated with stars, a mechanical egg, and lots more.
While all of the decorating is going on, an observant reader may have noticed what’s going on with the robins. The cameos at the top of the page show a pair of robins building a nest, which finally has three blue eggs in it. Mother Robin sits on the eggs until two squirrels show up and scare her off the nest. One egg falls to the ground. Mother Robin is beside herself.
That’s about the same time that Hoppi shows up. He has decided that he will be happy making an egg that “is right for me.” The rest of the story is heartwarming, indeed!
A special fold-out page is necessary to show all of the detail to Easter Rabbit’s arrival in the glen. His beautifully decorated wagon is pulled by four buff Cochin chickens.
This is a superb book!
Brett has written other books, including “The Mitten” and, more recently, “Cinders, a Chicken Cinderella.”
“The Easter Egg” is $17.99 in hardcover. I found the book at City Market, in a spring book display, at a reduced price. Since the book has a copyright date of 2010, you may find it in softcover. Check with Downtown Books.