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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Spring books

Springtime and Easter present challenges. Most librarians have spent their book budgets, yet students get spring-book-fever and want new titles. What should you add to your list?

10 Hungry Rabbits: Counting & Color Concepts by Anita Lobel. Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-375-86864-1. $9.99.

10 Easter Egg Hunters: a holiday counting book by Janet Schulman; illustrated by Linda Davick. Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. ISBN 978-0-375-86787-3. $8.99.

Home for a Bunny (A Little Golden Book) by Margaret Wise Brown; illustrated by Garth Williams. Random House Little Golden Books Classic, 1989. ISBN: 978-0-307-93009-5. $3.99.

The Bunny’s Night-Light: A Glow-in-the-Dark Search by Geoffrey Hayes. Random House, 2012. $11.99, 32 page. ISBN 9780375869266.

10 Hungry Rabbits. I’ve been a fan of Anita Lobel’s since she illustrated Princess Furball and spoke at a literature symposium in Illinois in the early 90’s. When I saw 10 Hungry Rabbits, I knew there would be little artistic touches added to each page. While not as elaborate as the flowers in Allison’s Zinnia or as amazing as her recent paintings of flowers in gouache on rice paper, Anita Lobel creates and hides beautiful flowers throughout the scenes of 10 Hungry Rabbits. She correlates colors of vegetables with the colors of each rabbits clothes while she counts vegetables. The most unusual food item is the page with ten black peppercorns. I’m glad I keep peppercorns on hand for grinding to show to students.

This idea for creating flannelboards to tell the tale of 10 Hungry Rabbits is perfect for spring storytime. I am a big fan of Reading Chick’s flannelboard blog posts. Here is a photo from her take on this tale.

Kirkus reviews notes the details in their review of 10 Hungry Rabbits, too.

There is an interesting tie-in between these two counting books. Anita Lobel dedicates her book to Janet Schulman “fine author, excellent editor, and very good friend. With love always.”

Janet Schulman’s rhymes in 10 Easter Egg Hunters are what caused this title to be added to my list. While I may not be a big fan of creepy teeth kids in the Linda Davick illustrations, I did find many hidden treasures (and eggs) in the photos. I can imagine reading this to a small group, possibly 2-4 students and having them find eggs in the illustration that are not referenced by the words until later on in the story. When students become accustomed to facts and details being strained out so they only focus on the “correct” image or answer, it can be disconcerting to be exposed to the larger picture throughout the book and having to focus oneself.

Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown; illustrated by Garth Williams remains one of the classic Little Golden Books. For tiny toddlers, looking for a bunny home under a rock, under a stone, under a log, or under the ground becomes a chant throughout this tale. Garth Williams sweet bunnies will always remind me of spring. He created such happy animals that the reader couldn’t help but feel happy for spring.

As for the book, The Bunny’s Night-Light: A Glow-in-the-Dark Search, I think Angie Mangino nailed this title with her review at the City Book Review at The publisher description isn’t as sweet.

“When Little Bunny can’t sleep because “there’s too much dark at night,” it’s up to Papa to find just the right night-light for his little bunny. The pair go for a walk around the woods and Papa points out the possibilities. Perhaps the moon is the ideal night-light? Or maybe the fireflies will be able to help? Or even the little glowworm? Featuring luminescent nighttime illustrations that glow in the dark, and a comforting text, this bedtime story will resonate with little bunnies and their parents.”

This was the last of a group of titles I picked up because my first impression was that it was just a gimmicky book of glow in the dark pictures. I was sooooo wrong! This is truly a reassuring bedtime story that is perfect for daddies to read to their little ones. The illustrations have the perfect balance of sweetness with variations in expression that will keep little ones looking at pictures again and again. The wording is perfectly paced with gentle rhythm and repetition.

I first read the story in the daytime and was very satisfied. Later at night I pulled out my flashlight to watch the pages glow around the edges and with aspects of night that naturally have light. As PaPa tries to find the perfect light to reassure Bunny, Bunny easily points out the flaws in each suggestion. At the same time, Bunny is opening his eyes to the night objects that glow or produce light. This will help toddlers realize that the night is not all dark.

The Bunny’s Night-Light is such a charmer that I have to take it with me to Michigan to show #3 grandchild while we wait the arrival of #4. I am prepared for the necessity of producing a nightlight after reading and anticipate shopping for a three year old. Will he want a bunny light or perhaps some type of monster truck light? Perhaps the glow in the dark objects will be a better gift to accompany this story. Whatever we follow up with, I am most anticipating that sweet moment of cuddling and reading. We’ll reach the end when Papa and Mama say Good Night and then we’ll go back to read it again.

Hopefully you are taking note of these titles to add to your collection so you’ll be ready next year when the bunny season arrives. Good luck.