A young girl dreams of a magical journey on the back of a fawn in a picture book that’s been a holiday favorite for more than 60 years
A Tale for Easter. By Tasha Tudor. Aladdin, 32 pp., $5.99, paperback. Ages 4–8.
By Janice Harayda
This classic picture book is a kind of Easter counterpart to The Polar Express, though it has a smaller format than Chris Van Allsburg’s Christmas fable. Generations preschoolers and other young children have delighted in Tasha Tudor’s sentimental tale of a girl who, on the night before the holiday, dreams of taking a magical journey on the back of a “wee fawn” that shows her “rabbits smoothing their sleek coats,” lambs “in fields of buttercups” and other gentle creatures of the season.
A two-time Caldecott Honor artist, Tudor uses second-person narration and soft watercolors to show Easter through the eyes of girl who lived at around the time of the Civil War, to judge by her Little Women-ish dresses and bonnet. Tudor sets the tone early: “You never can tell what might happen on Easter. You’re not always sure when it is coming, even though you go to Sunday school … it is only when Good Friday comes, and you have hot cross buns for tea that you know for certain Easter will be the day after tomorrow.” And while a story this sweet won’t appeal to everybody, Tudor has following among all ages, including many adults. And A Tale for Easter is so widely available that you may be able to find in bookstores and libraries at the last minute.
Recommended if … you’re looking for a picture book that evokes the magic of a season of rebirth without getting into Christian theology. A Tale for Easter may especially appeal to a child who sees herself as a “girly-girl.”
Published: 1941 (first edition), January 2004 (Aladdin paperback reprint).
Furthermore: You may also want to read the post entitled “The Best Versions of the Easter Story for Children” (March 17), which deals with picture books about the Resurrection and related events. Click on the listing for the post under “Top Posts” at right. This post has ranked among the five most popular on One-Minute Book Reviews almost every day since it appeared.
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© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.