SALT LAKE CITY — Springtime means book time, and with daffodils dotting flowerbeds and spring rains putting a soft green sheen on lawns and hillsides, it's hard to not want books that celebrate this exciting time of year. Here are five new picture books just in time for Easter to get young readers (and their bigger reading partners) excited for spring.
"EGG" by Kevin Henkes, HarperCollins, 40 pages (4-8 years)
Best-selling children's book author and illustrator Kevin Henkes proves that a little can go a long way with his new board book "Egg." Minimal words — which are often repeated — plus sweet, pastel-colored illustrations help tell a heartwarming story of acceptance. Henkes' unexpected plot twist will delight young readers, as will his clever marriage of images and words. Although it may not say much, "Egg" has more to offer than many books four times its size. This one is a true treat.
"HAPPY EASTER, MOUSE!" by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond, HarperCollins, 24 pages (2-4 years)
Mouse wakes up on Easter morning to find his decorated, colored eggs hidden all around his house. Preschoolers will enjoy hunting for the eggs with Mouse, calling out their colors along with him, and wondering who hid the eggs under the rocking chair or on the sofa. Bestselling author/illustrator duo Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond gave young readers the popular "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie," and have expanded their animal book world into a lively series. This board book is a great fit for young children learning to count and name their colors, and Bond's charming illustrations make it a joy to do so.
"IF THERE NEVER WAS A YOU" by Amanda Rowe and Olga Skomorokhova, Familius, 20 pages (5-6 years old)
Amanda Rowe's charming oversized board book features a bunny mom telling her little bunny why he matters so much to her, but it's Olga Skomorokhova's rich illustrations that really make this book memorable. Her densely packed pages are filled with color-saturated images of cheerful bunnies playing and frolicking, with plenty of small details perfect for young eyes searching for surprises.
"ANIMAL BABIES LIKE TO PLAY" by Jennifer Adams and Mary Lundquist, Balzer + Bray, 32 pages (4-8 years)
We know baby animals love to play and we know human babies love to play, so how about human babies adorably dressed as baby animals? According to Utah author Jennifer Adams, the answer is a resounding yes. This whimsical rhyming ABC book highlights animals beyond the standard dogs and cats, introducing young readers to narwhals, X-ray tetras, iguanas and many more. Readers young and old will enjoy Mary Lundquist's soft, pastel-colored illustrations of children in animal costumes playing hide-and-go-seek, sharing ice-cream cones and doing all the things that children love to do.
"BIRD WATCH" by Christie Matheson, Greenwillow Book, 48 pages (4-8 years)Comment on this story
Bird watching isn't just for grown-ups! Christie Matheson's beautifully illustrated and fun new book "Bird Watch" will have children hunting for the hidden birds in her watercolor illustrations and hopefully have them searching for the real-life counterparts in the trees and sky outdoors. For those who want to know more about the birds featured in her book, she includes a "More about Birds and Birding" section at the end, sharing details about commonly seen birds and giving helpful hints about how to attract birds to your home.