One Easter my sister gave my niece and nephew ducklings instead of chocolate bunnies. At our family holiday gathering, the ducklings were a big hit among our teenagers, which served as a reminder of the joy young animals bring people of all ages. Today the ducklings are grown, happily living at my sister’s orchard pond, and still admired.
“Taking Care of Mama Rabbit” by Anita Lobel, 2014, Random House, ages 3-6
Ten little rabbits each bring Mama a gift to cheer her up as is a bit under the weather. One brings a cuddly toy, another brings a sweet-smelling flower, and another a good book. The special attention and care from her little bunnies is all the medicine Mama needs to quickly feel better. Bright watercolor illustrations depict the creative details of the rabbit family and their home.
“Henny” by Elizabeth Rose Stanton, 2014, Simon & Schuster, ages 4-8.
Henny knows what it means to be different. She is a chick with human arms and hands. At first being different is embarrassing, and Henny focuses on the problems, like being confused if she is right or left-handed. But Henny soon realizes that having long arms and hands lets her help around the farm in ways that other chicks cannot. With this boost of confidence, Henny lets herself begin to dream of what she might do with her uniqueness. This humorous and inspiring story will be a good prompt for a discussion with children about their unique talents and goals.
“Lord and Lady Bunny – Almost Royalty” by Polly Horvath, 2014, Random House, 293 pages, ages 9-12.
The author, Polly Horvath plays the role of translator to this bunny tale. Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, writers and adventurers, tell the story of their trip to England, as Mrs. Bunny wants to be the queen. Along the way, the Bunnies meet up with their human friends, Madeline and her family, and their adventure includes crossing the ocean on a cruise ship, making magic candy, and even tea with the Queen of England. “Almost Royalty” is the sequel to “Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire!”.
“Extraordinary Warren: A Super Chicken” by Sarah Dillard, 2014, Aladdin, ages 6-9.
Warren is a chicken who longs to be more than ordinary. Warren gets his chance when he meets up with Millard the rat, who would love to have some chicken supreme (for dinner). Before Warren can become a rat’s barbequed dinner, an egg saves the day. Readers will follow Warren’s various emotions from boredom, to excitement, to confusion, to gratitude as depicted by the graphic style illustrations utilizing thinking bubbles, conversation boxes, and panel sketches.
“Hey, Duck!” by Carin Bramsen, 2013, Random House, ages 3-6.
A spunky duckling mistakes a cat for a duck and wants to play. The cranky cat only wants a nap and tries to ignore the tiresome toddler, until the cat realizes he may miss the boat and all of the fun. The illustrations provide realistic features and actions for the animals and vivid colors for the scenery. The facial expressions of the duck and cat are priceless?
“Lucky Ducklings: A True Rescue Story” by Eva Moore, Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, 2013, Orchard Books, ages 3-8.
This true story describes a mama duck and her five ducklings as they set off on an adventure, but end up with the ducklings being trapped. Luckily the people in the community pull together to rescue the ducklings and reunite them with the mama duck, so all can safely return to their home at the pond. Beautiful illustrations utilize soft colors and charcoal to create realistic depictions of the ducks and their dramatic outing.