Madeline at the White House

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Madeline at the White House

John Bemelmans Marciano
Viking, 2011

From the dust jacket, “Madeline and friends are off to enjoy a wonderful American adventure. The White House in Washington, D.C., is their destination, where they are the guests of the president’s lonely only daughter for the annual Easter Egg Roll. Cake and ice cream, dress-up games, and scary stories told in the dark are capped off by a magical nighttime tour of the capital’s most famous landmarks, before it’s time for the twelve little girls in two straight lines to say, “Au revoir, America!”

This is my first Madeline book and I really liked it. The only disappointing thing was that Madeline only got 1 day to spend with the lonely president’s daughter. She should have had at least a week to tour the city with Candle!! It’s a lovely rhyming story that is fun to read out loud and the pictures are simple line drawings that tell a whole lot more than meets the eye. I wish I were invited to the White House Easter Egg Roll – it looks like so much fun!!

Rating 4 out of 5 for all the fun (and magic, too!) this slim volume contains.




The Story of Easter

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The Story of Easter

Aileen Fisher
Illustrated by Stefano Vitale
HarperCollinsPublishers, 1997

From the dust jacket, “Easter evokes many images for many people: spring, rebirth, decorated eggs, fancy Easter bonnets, and the Easter bunny. How did these disparate traditions come to be associated with what is the central and most holy of holidays for Christians?

“With an informative text and glorious illustrations, this book explains how and why people all over the world celebrate Easter. It begins with the biblical story of Jesus’ resurrection and then describes how people honor this day and the origins of these traditions. Instructions for decorating eggs and a recipe for hot cross buns round out this delightful story of the Easter season.”

As the publisher’s blurb states, this is a well written and easy to understand book about Easter. The writing is fairly small so it’s perfect for reading aloud to younger kittens but older, school age ones should be okay on their own. But don’t let them read it alone! It’s too interesting to not share with the whole family. The retelling of the Bible story is an accurate overview and then it’s cool to read how some of the traditions Americans celebrate with are from different cultures around the world. But, somehow, the author wasn’t able to come up with the origins of the Easter bunny! The illustrations are quite pretty and enhance the story.

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because it’s a lovely book and can be read by non-Christians without offending them.



Love One Another

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Love One Another
The Last Days of Jesus

Lauren Thompson
Illustrated by Elizabeth Uyehara
Scholastic Press, 2000

From the dust jacket, “Once there was a man named Jesus. He was a teacher who traveled the countryside and spoke to all people of God’s love and forgiveness. “Love God, and love one another,” he said.

“Those who wanted to learn more became Jesus’s disciples. But when Jesus and his disciples entered Jerusalem to speak to the large crowds gathered there, some of the temple priests grew angry and envious. When the priests’ plot against Jesus led to his arrest, trial, and death, the disciples came to understand the true meaning of Jesus’s teachings.”

This is a nice retelling of the story of Jesus’ last week. Some parents will like it for their kittens because it leaves out the more gruesome parts of the story. But I don’t think it’s a true “Easter book” because the depiction of the risen Christ is only a bright light. We celebrate Easter to worship Jesus Christ as He is now – resurrected from the grave. It would have been good to have an illustration of Jesus bathed in that bright light to bring home the message of resurrection.

Rating: 3 out of 5 paws – While the focus of the book is on loving one another and there’s nothing wrong with that, I would like to have had the focus be more on the Resurrection of Jesus than on His disciples.





With Words from the King James Bible

Fiona French
Harper Collins Publishers, 2002

From the dust jacket, “With words from the Gospels of the King James Bible and luminous artwork inspired by England’s glorious stained-glass cathedral windows, this beautiful book celebrates the story of Easter.
“In twelve radiant panoramas, Kate Greenaway medalist Fiona French re-creates the complete Easter story—beginning with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem through the last supper, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and Jesus’ appearance to the disciples, and culminating with his ascension into heaven.”

This is a very pretty book. Each page is like looking at a stained-glass window from the Middle Ages. The words are, as the publisher has said, are from the King James Bible and they tell the story of Easter week, or “Passion” week. Each of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) told the same story and the pictures reflect that. In one picture there’s the man who loses his ear to Peter’s sword during the capture of Jesus, and the artist very subtly depicts that moment in her ‘window’. Another window shows Peter after he has denied Jesus three times and the rooster crowing – just as Jesus said he would – even though the main focus is that of Jesus being abused by the soldiers. If the reader is familiar with the different versions of Passion Week they will find hidden meanings in all of the pictures – just like the real windows of England. (In the Middle Ages the public was largely illiterate and the only real way of communicating the story of Jesus with them was through plays, paintings and stained-glass windows.)

Rating 4 of 5 paws because not only is it a beautiful book but the artist is faithful to the story, even of the crucifixion of Jesus.




Miz Fannie Mae’s Fine New Easter Hat


Miz Fannie Mae’s Fine New Easter Hat

Melissa Milich
Illustrated by Yong Chen
Little, Brown & Company, 1997

From the dust jacket, “Miz Fannie Mae’s husband and daughter want to surprise her with a new Easter hat. When they find, a beautiful hat draped with lace, flowers, fruit, and a tiny nest of speckled eggs, they know it has got to be the finest Easter hat in all of Meridian City. But little do they know just how truly special it is—the whole family is in for a big surprise when Miz Fannie Mae wears her new hat to church and …” **Spoiler Alert!!!** “the eggs start to hatch!”
“In lyrical prose, Melissa Milich tells a hilarious story with roots in a true Easter memory from long ago. Yong Chen, in his picture book debut, makes the distinctive characters and period setting come to life in his graceful, expressive watercolors.”

I enjoyed this book of Easter family fun. It called to mind a tradition lost to some communities – that of having a new hat for Easter Sunday. A new hat was a reminder that spring was here and all the ugly of winter had said goodbye for another year. In the story, it was funny when the mom, Fannie Mae, makes her daughter, Tandy, promise to not let her father bring home an ugly hat. And Tandy and her father in the hat shop – they had fun together and it’s always good to see fathers and their kids having fun together.

The watercolor illustrations are soft and lovely. I like the dreamy feel watercolors can give to a picture and these pictures are of a time that exists only in dreams. Very subtle and very pretty. The text is small to medium and there is a lot of it. This is a picture book for older kittens – not newbies, unless it’s read to them, of course!!

Rating: 4 of 5 paws because of helping us to remember the Easter tradition of new hats!!!