Eastertime Treats

"It's springtime!/ It's Easter!/ It's finally here!/ Don't you love/ this time of year?" reads the opening page of Toni Trent Parker's Painted Eggs and Chocolate Bunnies, with photos by Earl Anderson. In this companion to their valentine-themed Hugs and Hearts, soft shades of yellow, violet, blue and green provide the backdrop for Parker's zippy text and Anderson's photographs of African-American children. (Scholastic/Cartwheel, $6.95 16p ages 6 mos.—4 yrs. ISBN 0-439-33869-7; Feb.)

Rhythmic verse, lively cut-paper collage and more than 35 reusable holographic stickers encourage youngsters to get creative on the pages of Make Your Own Easter Treats! by Sonali Fry, illus. by Judith Moffatt. On each spread there's one last goodie waiting to be decorated with the enclosed stickers. (Scholastic/ Cartwheel, $6.99 12p ages 3-5 ISBN 0-439-34202-3; Mar.)

Nadine Bernard Westcott's pop-up Easter Egg Hunt follows a boy and his friends as they search for hidden surprises. "We'll find all the eggs/ I'll find a whole bunch!/ Then tomorrow we'll eat egg salad for lunch." The final spread depicts the children, a dog and two bunnies enjoying the spoils. (S&S/Little Simon, $5.99 paper 16p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-689-84566-9; Jan.)

Bunny Day: Telling Time from Breakfast to Bedtime by Rick Walton, illus. by Paige Miglio, collaborators on similar books about ABCs and counting (So Many Bunnies; One More Bunny), document a day in the life of rabbits as they teach how to tell time. " 'Bunnies, it is getting late!'/ Father Rabbit says at eight," reads the opening page as the bunnies struggle to the breakfast table. The four-line stanza pattern repeats throughout, ending with bunnies getting tucked into bed (at eight o'clock at night). Comforting and idyllic watercolors reveal clock faces with hands that correspond to the appropriate time. (HarperCollins, $15.95 32p ages 3-up ISBN 0-06-029183-4; Feb.)

Industrious bunnies decorate baskets and paint eggs in two Easter Weave Board Books by Michelle Knudsen, illus. by Dawn Apperley. Easter Basket follows four floppy-eared friends as they put a little of themselves (literally) into their collective creation. In Easter Egg, a trio of bunnies each embellish an egg with springtime colors. A plastic woven basket and egg, respectively, peek through an opening in the cover of these tiny trim-size books. (S&S/ Little Simon, $4.99 each 14p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-689-84725-4; -84726-2; Jan.)

From jelly beans to a chocolate bunny, Owen eats it all up in Owen's Marshmallow Chick, a board book by Kevin Henkes. "My favorite," he declares as he pulls each sweet from the basket. Only the titular treat is spared when Owen notices it's the same color as his favorite blanket—and plays with it instead. (HarperFestival, $6.95 24p ages 2-up ISBN 0-06-001012-6; Feb.)

Innovative collage artwork by Donald Saaf and an updated text provide an invigorating new look for The Easter Bunny That Overslept by Priscilla and Otto Friedrich, first published in 1957. The hero snoozes past his delivery deadline and awakes instead on Mother's Day; Saaf pictures him marching ahead to the next holiday sporting a red, white and blue suit, dejectedly walking home against a backdrop of photocopied real grass. In a penultimate spread, Santa brings the hero an alarm clock so he'll make his next delivery on time. (HarperCollins, $14.95 32p ages 3-8 ISBN 0-06-029645-3; Feb.)

Two Peekaboo Books by Allia Zobel-Nolan, illus. by Kristina Stephenson, make nifty basket stuffers: Something Yummy for Sunny, featuring die-cut pages with a rabbit's head and plush floppy ears peering over the pages; and Let's Play, Lily, in the same format with a lamb's woolly visage. Sunny searches for something to eat, Lily plays hide-and-seek, and both characters move up and down to disguise themselves in the pages. (Readers Digest, $5.99 each 10p ages 6 mos.—4 yrs. ISBN 1-57584-837-6; -836-8; Mar.)

Prescription for Reading

Originally issued in paperback last year as part of the ABA Prescription for Reading program, Audrey Wood's A Book for Honey Bear: Reading Keeps the Sighs Away is now available for sale in a paper-over-board edition. When a baby bear gets sick, the doctor prescribes a homespun remedy: "Read a book to/ your sweet Honey,/ Twenty minutes every day,/ This will make her smart/ and happy,/ Plus it keeps the/ 'sighs' away." (S&S/Little Simon, $7.99 24p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-689-84347-X; Nov.)

Cool Kits for Creative Kids

David Eckold's Ultimate Robot Kit comes with enough parts in its oversize laminated box to make five fantastic robots—including plastic gears and disks, chassis and a "power pod." A guidebook and instruction cards come packed below in a removable tray. (DK, $29.95 24p ages 8-up ISBN 0-7894-7945-1; Oct.)

Budding bibliophiles can make their own masterpieces with The Bookmaking Kit by Ann Morris and Peter Linenthal. The sturdy carrying case contains brightly colored papers, interior pages, cardstock covers and fasteners for five different books, including a "button-closure clothbound book," an origami book and a photo album book. The Bookmaking Workshop guide offers instructions for more than 20 additional projects. (Chronicle, $19.95 32p ages 6-up ISBN 0-8118-2802-6; Oct.)

Armed with a bag of balloons, a sack of cameras and film—and the idea that curly colorful hats could unite the world—balloon artist Addi Somekh and photographer Charlie Eckert set out on a global adventure. The result: the Inflatable Crown Balloon Hat Kit, which comes with 30 balloons, a "super piston—action pump" and guidebook. Full-color photographs of the balloon-bedecked children of all ages in Cairo, Kenya and East L.A. make a most artful instruction manual, with photos that serve as a step-by-step demonstration. (Chronicle, $22.95 152p ages 8-up ISBN 0-8118-2994-4; Oct.)

Designed for the astronomically inclined, Charles Hobson's Seeing Stars is one stellar tool kit. Inside, 10 die-cut cards feature depictions of the constellations as diagrammed by Greek astronomers. Turned over, they reveal the constellations as seen from Earth. Youngsters can create starlight in a darkened room by beaming the matchbox-thin flashlight (included) at the card. A handbook retells the Andromeda myth and tells how to locate the Great Bear, the Little Bear and Orion's Belt in the night sky. (Chronicle, $14.95 ages 8-up ISBN 0-8118-3205-8; Oct.)

Whack a slappy strip against your wrist and it instantly transforms into a wrap-around bracelet. Kids can effect further transformations with Super Slappies: Make Your Own Animal Bracelets. The spiral-bound guide comes with instructions and patterns for making a range of creatures including monkeys, frogs, horses and snakes. The "craft pack" contains a quartet of unadorned "slap" bracelets, "googlie eyes," "jewels, sequins and other decorative doodads." (Klutz, $17.95 48p ages 8-up ISBN 1-57054-638-X; Sept.)

The Fabulous Book of Paper Dolls by Julie Collings comes with six paper dolls (with an array of skin tones), a massive mix-'n'-match wardrobe and accessories. The spiral-bound book also contains backdrop scenes for the dolls and a pull-out armoire to tuck away the natty duds. Hairstyles are interchangeable; a guide to drawing faces is included, too. The clothes stay on with "reusable glue dots" instead of old-fashioned tabs and the clothes are printed on both sides. (Klutz, $16.95 54p ages 8-up ISBN 1-57054-631-2; Sept.)

Based on a popular Canadian television series called Crazy Quilt, I Touched the Moon!: Stories and Crafts for Kids combines art and literacy to fun effect. Editor Barbara Mains brings together five tales adapted from a variety of traditions. Simple instructions show how to re-create the characters out of everyday materials. (Annick [Firefly, dist.], $12.95 paper 48p ages 2-5 ISBN 1-55037-674-8; Oct.)

Anansi Spins More Tales

Drawing on stories heard in his youth, Ghanaian author Adwoa Badoe retells 10 trickster tales in The Pot of Wisdom: Ananse Stories, illus. by Baba Wagué Diakité. Each teaches a life lesson and often double as a pourquoi tale, such as "Why Ananse Lives on the Ceiling." An opening note on the art of storytelling encourages readers to pass on the oral tradition. Rendered on glazed earthenware tiles, Diakite's deep green, blue, brown and yellow hues and intricate patterns stand out against white frame borders. (Groundwood, $18.95 64p ages 7-up ISBN 0-88899-429-X; Sept.)

In Anansi and the Magic Stick by Eric A. Kimmel, illus. by Janet Stevens, the arachnid goes too far. Anansi steals the napping Hyena's magic housekeeping stick to water his garden. Unattended, the water floods the town. Stevens's comic creatures with their surprised expressions add kid appeal. (Holiday, $16.95 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-8234-1443-4; Sept.)

True Companions

The star of Mouse's First Christmas and Mouse's First Halloween gets a heart-shaped card from big sister Minka in Mouse's First Valentine by Lauren Thompson, illus. by Buket Erdogan. As Minka collects the materials to make it—paste, ribbon and lace—Little Mouse sneaks behind her, each time asking "What could it be?" Minka answers each question on the following page. " 'Red paper!' said Minka./ Just what I need.' " Erdogan's velvety palette in rosy tones warms the pages. (S&S, $12.95 32p ages 2-6 ISBN 0-689-84724-6; Jan.)

Inspired by their elder's artwork, Little Bear and friends want to paint pictures, too, but when they can't decide on a subject, they agree to paint patterns instead in Old Bear's Surprise Painting by Jane Hissey. Fifteen years after the appearance of Old Bear, the titular teddy comes to the rescue when he combines his friends' efforts into an "all-together painting." (Philomel, $15.99 40p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-399-23709-7; Oct.)

While Humphrey, from Humphrey's Corner, gets ready for bed, his big sister, Lottie, pulls rank: "I am allowed to stay up very, very, late,... because I am the biggest." Besides, she must put her own babies (a collection of stuffed animals) to bed. Finally, Daddy swoops up his sleepy girl in Humphrey's Bedtime by Sally Hunter. Sunset-colored pastels and cozy hand-lettered text create just the right mood for winding down the day. (Holt, $14.95 32p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-8050-6903-8; Oct.)

Toytown's favorite guinea pig returns in Little Whistle's Dinner Party by Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Tim Bowers, to host a midnight supper. He searches high and low for food and supplies, but when his friends finally arrive, Little Whistle is nowhere in sight. Bowers's sly perspectives bring the characters to life. (Harcourt, $14 32p ages 3-7 ISBN 0-15-201079-3; Oct.)

Bunny and Bird, who teamed up in Will You Be My Friend? are joined by Squirrel and Chipmunk for a game of winter hide-and-seek in Where Did Bunny Go? by Nancy Tafuri. Bunny, however, is too clever in his choice of a hiding place and, when Bird can't find him, the feathered fellow turns despondent—until Bunny emerges from a log. Tafuri enhances the springtime setting with crisp illustrations befitting the season. (Scholastic, $15.95 32p ages 4-7 ISBN 0-439-16959-3; Oct.)

The Kitten Caboodle

A pair of books retells the tale of the famous feline trio. Anna Alter's soothing watercolor and colored pencil illustrations complement a new twist on The Three Little Kittens. Alter credits the loss of the kitten crew's belongings to a pack of mischievous mice. Cream-colored endpapers feature a pattern of pies and mittens. (Holt, $15.95 32p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-8050-6471-0; Oct.)

Tanya Linch's faithful adaptation of Three Little Kittens takes a visual leap, depicting the cats in chunky, geometric forms. Friezes bordering several spreads feature pie-making necessities: eggs, whisk and mixing bowl, baking dish and serving spoon. (Gullane [Sterling, dist.] $12.95 32p ages 2-5 ISBN 1-86233-204-5; Nov.)