cover image Michael Hague's Family Easter Treasury

Michael Hague's Family Easter Treasury

. Henry Holt & Company, $19.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-3819-4

The miracle of Easter remains one of the most difficult religious observances to explain to children. But Hague (The Teddy Bears' Picnic) admirably takes on the task with this well-rounded collection of Biblical passages, stories and poems focusing on the sacred as well as secular aspects of the spring holiday. Hague's approach is four-pronged, beginning with a section entitled ""A Time of Faith,"" followed by ""A Time of Rebirth,"" ""A Time of Celebration"" and ""A Time of Love."" Each section opens with a passage from the Gospels of Mark, Luke, John and Matthew as they appear in the King James Bible. Though there is often little distinction between the sections' themes, the first two focus primarily on rebirth after death, employing Bible stories of Jesus' Resurrection as well as texts which highlight the new life of the spring following the dead time of winter. Among the highlights are ""The Selfish Giant"" by Oscar Wilde, ""The Waking Year"" by Emily Dickinson and ""Spring"" by William Blake. In the thorough and fascinating ""In the Easter Basket,"" (part of ""A Time of Celebration""), Elizabeth Hough Sechrist explains variations on the traditions of dyed Easter eggs, Easter baskets and the Easter Bunny from around the world. And in ""A Time of Love,"" Hague again pays homage to the wonders of spring. His pastel-and-watercolor artwork spans the ages, from Biblical to modern times, using images holy, fantastic and ordinary. From sweeping spreads to borders and small spots, Hague gives each text entry a style and flavor all its own, yet his consistent palette unifies the volume as a whole. A compendium families will revisit year after year. All ages. (Mar.)