Title: The First Easter
Author: Jesslyn DeBoar
Illustrator: David Clar
Ages: 0 – 3
Title: The First Easter Day
Author: Jill Roman Lord
Illustrator: Kimberley Barnes
Publisher: Worthy Kids, Hatchett Book Group.
Ages : 0 – 3
Today, I’m reviewing two board books with similar titles: The First Easter and The First Easter Day. Both books are aimed at preschool level, and both books focus on the joy of the Resurrection. It is difficult to class these books as specifically ‘Catholic’, but they are certainly suitable for exposing very young children to basic words and themes for Easter.
The First Easter is a cute little egg-shaped board book that would fit nicely amongst a basket of chocolate Easter eggs. It’s small size and rounded shape make it easy for little hands to hold and turn the cardboard pages. The story focuses on a little lamb and bluebird who watch as the women approach the tomb and find it empty. Then an angel appears and tells them that Jesus is alive. Then Jesus himself appears and tells the women he loves them and to go and tell everyone the good news. In the final page, we see little lamb, bluebird and the women running happily to tell everyone what they have seen. The words are simple; the sentences short and direct – perfect for very young children who will have this little story read to them.
I particularly liked the simple colours and bright artwork. The pictures are easily understood and appealing. Details such as different colours on every second page and the glossy finish make this a delightful little board book that will please young children.
There is no explanation about who Jesus is or how He died, so be ready with answers if young children start asking. The story stays very close to scripture and is simple in its message – Jesus is alive on this special day and we are happy.
You can find the First Easter HERE at Amazon.
The First Easter Day is also a board book, but a little larger in size at about 6 X 5 inches or 15 X 13 cm. Its still small enough to be held by young readers. This book focuses on some young children who imagine how all of creation’s creatures express their happiness and joy on Easter day. Then while bunnies are hopping about and frogs are ‘bellowing’, in the background we see the women walking towards an empty tomb. The empty tomb serves as a backdrop as Jesus enters the story as the risen Lord with the sun ‘glistening’ to show ‘love and praise’.
This is an entertaining little book that young preschoolers will enjoy. The final pages emphasize how the children express their joy by dancing and playing and frolicking about in nature as they ‘celebrate that Christ arose to give new life to me!’ Like the previous book there is no time to explain who Jesus is or how or why he died, but young children will certainly home in on the joy of Easter and how it is expressed.
The illustrations are vibrant and lively with smiling faces on every page. There is plenty going on in every illustration so while you are reading to the youngsters you can point out different details and talk about the empty tomb in the background. Children will enjoy identifying the different animals and insects in the story. My favourite is the pussy cat who falls asleep on Jesus’ lap.
Both of these board books are cheap and well suited to their target. They serve as a great starting point for little ones who are only beginning to absorb the themes, words and ideas of our faith. Both emphasize the joy of Easter, the women walking to the empty tomb and Jesus is risen. That’s a great start for this age group!
The First Easter Day is available HERE
Ideas for parents and carers.
Actively engaging children while reading these books is going to reinforce these simple themes. I would have young children dancing and prancing around the room at the end of each book shouting out “He’s Alive! Jesus is risen!”
Reinforcing the ideas as you go such as “See little lamb. He/She’s happy because Jesus is alive!”
Drawing pictures such as the Angel telling the women that Jesus is not dead would be an enjoyable activity for preschoolers – or drawing the empty tomb.
Repetition is a wonderful tool for this age group; so be prepared to read and reread these little books many times over – the reward in the long term will be well worth the effort!