Easter Treats

Bunnies and baskets and... a frog? Oh my! A pair of Easter offerings puts a twist on tradition. A father sings the praises of his daughter and her bonnet ("Oh, I could write a sonnet/ About your Easter bonnet") as they prepare to promenade in Irving Berlin's classic Easter Parade, recast as a picture book illustrated by Lisa McCue. Complete lyrics and piano score with guitar chords close the cheerful volume. (HarperCollins, $15.99 32p all age ISBN 0-06-029125-7; Feb.)

Hop to It: A Scholastic Easter Treasury brims with seven stories, including Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit, illus. by David McPhail, and Clifford's Happy Easter by Norman Bridwell. (Scholastic/Cartwheel, $10.99 224p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-439-44267-2; Feb.)

Egg Heads

An assortment of novelty titles makes for an Easter basket bounty. Youngsters join a hunt with Five Little Chicks by Lark Carrier: "The first one peeps at a jelly-bean sweet./ The second one peeps at a painted-egg treat." Throughout, the sturdy board book's die-cut pages grow progressively smaller for an ever-more revealing glimpse of the long-eared gift-giver. (HarperFestival, $6.99 20p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-06-008200-3; Feb.)

Colorful plastic eggs peek out of the die-cut cover of the paper-over-board book Five Little Easter Eggs by William Boniface, illus. by Lynn Adams. With each passing page, a gang of bunnies hides an egg from view, inviting readers to count down with them to one. (PSS!, 12p ages 3-up ISBN 0-8431-0233-0; Jan.)

Layered pages give a pair of chunky, die-cut board books a 3-D look. In Bunny's Egg Hunt by Giovanni Caviezel, illus. by Roberta Pagnoni, Bunny hides Easter eggs for his brother and sister to find. In Baby Chick, from the same team, Mother chick spies an egg that's not decorated, unlike the others, and ends up with a surprise. (S&S/Little Simon, $4.99 each 12p ages 1-4 ISBN 0-689-85246-0; -85247-9; Feb.)

The shaped board book Yummy Chocolate Bunny by Jocelyn Jamison, illus. by Jui Ishida, stars one lucky boy and an irresistible treat. "I'll just take one little bite," he says. A new die-cut munch appears to have been taken from each page, and the boy gets progressively messier as the vanishing rabbit looks increasingly chagrined. (PSS!, $5.99 12p ages 2-6 ISBN 0-8431-0259-4; Jan.)

Spring Flings

Familiar faces greet readers in an assortment of springtime titles. The board book Biscuit and the Bunny by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illus. by Pat Schories, stars the titular pup. While his girl owner starts a garden, Biscuit makes a new friend. (HarperCollins, $4.99 14p ages 2-6 ISBN 0-694-01518-0; Feb.)

Little Bill and his cousin Fuchsia join forces to find the "special egg," an all-chocolate Easter egg, in the lift-the-flap story Happy Easter, Everyone! by Hopi Morton, illus. by Robert Powers, part of Nick Jr.'s Little Bill series. (Simon Spotlight/Nick Jr., $5.99 paper 16p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-689-85243-6; Feb.)

A goose wanders about the barnyard looking for a place to make her nest in Silly Little Goose! by Nancy Tafuri, now available in a board-book edition (PW praised the "lovely nostalgic sensibility" of the picture book, published last year). When Goose alights in the pig pen and the chicken coop the animals protest; fortunately, the farmer's hat, carried by the wind across each spread, finally settles and makes the perfect resting place for her eggs. (Scholastic, $7.99 30p ages 6 mos.-5 yrs. ISBN 0-439-44265-6; Apr.)

A kind of nature's version of a telephone game takes place, as an array of animals spread word of the turning seasons in It's Spring! by Samantha Berger and Pamela Chanko, illus. by Melissa Sweet, now available in board book format. (Scholastic/Cartwheel, $5.99 30p ages 5-7 ISBN 0-439-44238-9; Apr.)

Eggs-tra Special

A flurry of novelty titles inspire interactive Easter fun. Youngsters follow the fate of two different eggs (one stays on the farm and hatches into a chicken; the other is boiled and "decorated for Easter") in the lift-the-flap offering This Little Egg Went to Market by Harriet Ziefert, illus. by Emily Bolam. This title may inspire children to swear off decorated eggs and opt for only chocolate ones. (Picture Puffin, $6.99 paper 16p ages 2-6 ISBN 0-14-250012-7; Jan.)

Funny Bunny: Hilariously Hare-Brained Easter Riddles by Lisa Eisenberg; illus. by Dave Klug, asks questions such as "What kind of eggs are the hardest to dye?" and offers the answers ("Scrambled eggs!") beneath liftable flaps in the center of each spread. (HarperFestival, $5.99 paper 20p ages 3-8 ISBN 0-06-008821-4; Feb.)

It's a toy, it's a book, it's Mama Hen and Her Baby Chicks, 1,2,3 by Beck Ward, illus. by Sami Sweeton, featuring four stories in one. Shaped like a chicken, the main die-cut board book concerns a mother's patient wait for her chicks to hatch; the remaining three (Little Chick; Bedtime on the Farm; and What's Inside? Surprise!) are egg-shaped and ingeniously embedded within the larger book. A pull of the hen's tail makes her cluck (via sound chip) and releases the books, like a chicken laying eggs. (S&S/Little Simon, $14.95 ages 1-4 ISBN 0-689-85660-1; Feb.)

A fuzzy rabbit appears on the cover of the board book Mommy Loves Her Bunny by Josephine Page, illus. by Mary Morgan, a celebration of the parent-child bond. Repetitive text ("Duckies love their mommy.../ and Mommy loves her duckies/ Piggies love their mommy.../ and Mommy loves her piggies") encourages participation. (Scholastic/Cartwheel, $4.99 10p ages 6 mos.-3 yrs. ISBN 0-439-44322-9; Feb.)

The covers of two hand-size board books by Poppy Wells, illus. by Summer Durantz, sport fuzzy ears accented with gingham print. In Baby Bunny, a rabbit tries to "find a friend to hop with," and in Little Lamb, the baby star plays hide-and-seek. (S&S/Little Simon, $4.99 each 12p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-689-85644-X; -85645-8; Feb.)

Fleecy Bunny by William Boniface, illus. by Lynn Adams, joins a fleet of previously released Fleecy Friends, just right for tucking into an Easter basket, crib or playpen. The cloth book, outfitted in pink bunny trappings, with long ears extended from the cover, details the adventures of Boris the bunny. (PSS!, $9.99 10p ages 6 mos.-2 yrs. ISBN 0-8431-7786-1; Jan.)

Part of the Animal Snuggles series, the board books Little Lamb and Cozy Kitten by Shaheen Bilgrami, illus. by Emma Lake, are swaddled in plush fur with soft felt appliqués on the covers that depict the eponymous animals. In the first, a lamb plays with new friends on the farm. In the second, a curious cat wanders away from his sleeping mother in search of something fun to do. In the end, both animals return to their mothers. (Sterling, $7.95 each 8p age 2-4 ISBN-4027-0208-6; -0207-8; Feb.)

For Nature Lovers

Budding environmentalists will appreciate the board book My First Nature Book, illus. by B. Bampton and A. Curti, which introduces readers to the animals and plants of the farm, forest, savanna and sea, among others—with two spreads dedicated to each. Clearly labeled illustrations and informative sidebars appear throughout. (Random, $7.99 24p ages 6 mos.-4 yrs ISBN 0-375-81576-7; Dec.)

A pair of titles explores letters and numbers in the natural world. Laura Rankin, author of The Handmade Alphabet, chronicles the changing seasons in a small Maine town in Swan Harbor: A Nature Counting Book. Acrylic portraits appear throughout, highlighting in framed spreads "1 robin" heading to her springtime nest near the harbor, "12 seashells" washed ashore and "17 seals" resting on rocks as autumn foliage lights up the shoreline. In the final spread, "20 swans" glide on snow-dusted waters. (Dial, $16.99 32p all ages ISBN 0-8037-2561-2; Apr.)

"A is for Arbor" through to "Z is for Zucchini," each gets highlighted in one of 26 paper-cut compositions, finished with watercolors, and dramatically framed on cream-colored pages, in A Cottage Garden Alphabet by Andrea Wisnewski. A must for green thumbs of all ages. (Godine, $18.95 64p ages 4-8 ISBN 1-56792-229-5; Feb.)

For budding oceanographers, The Deep-Sea Floor by Sneed B. Collard III, illus. by Gregory Wenzel, sheds light on the denizens of the deep and presents the history of ocean exploration, from hundreds of years ago, when many thought the ocean was bottomless, to the present, where scientists routinely utilize "deep-sea submersibles" (or vehicles) to troll the depths. (Charlesbridge, $16.95 32p ages 7-11 ISBN 1-57091-402-8; $6.95 paper -403-6; Feb.)