Review By HUYEN MACMICHAEL
All the rabbits are busily decorating eggs and Hoppi searches for a way to make a unique egg for his first year to impress the Easter Bunny, the judge of the egg competition. As Hoppi witnesses the other
rabbits (each illustrated as a different breed of rabbit), they generously donate extra decorations and supplies for him to use for his egg. The talented bunnies make eggs out of chocolate, carved wood,
wildflowers, and mechanical pieces as well as dyed and painted eggs.
After watching and attempting some of the difficult techniques, Hoppi concludes, “I guess I don’t have to win. I just want to make an egg I am proud of.”
Author Jan Brett doesn’t stop with just that lesson! Hoppi’s egg decorating plans are set aside when he discovers a robin’s egg has fallen out it’s next and the Mother Robin is frantic. Brett writes, “Hoppi knew what he had to do” and he volunteers to keep the egg warm until it hatches and Mother Robin can take care of her baby. The uncomplaining decision to care for Robin’s egg seems to emphasize the celebration of life. Although Hoppi doesn’t expect it, he is praised and acknowledged for his unselfish acts at the end of the story.
Brett writes and illustrates a lovely story that reaches beyond the materialism of an Easter egg decorating competition. Generosity and kind-heartedness is reiterated in multiple ways. I feel as if the story can have many meanings to many different people and the symbolism can be interpreted accordingly.
Not only is this a clever tale about Easter spirit, but the illustrations are exquisitely detailed and emphasize the celebration of spring. Each page has a main scene as well as 3 additional smaller scenes flanking it, and all the scenes bordered by different spring flowers and plants. Clearly flora and fauna are a specialty for Brett.
On the backflap of the book, Brett describes her fondness and knowledge of rabbits and the inspiration for the story. I only wish there was a special illustrated guide at the back to identify all the types of rabbits and all the types of plants used to frame the scenes!
The layout of the book is well-thought out and there is a special fold out page when the Easter Bunny arrives to decide upon the eggs.
In regards to AR, I was not certain how an egg story would go over with vegan readers. In some ways, the story was wonderful (saving the baby robin, creating eggs out of wood, chocolate, and mechanical pieces) but there may still be some question about where the painted and dyed eggs may come from and why the chickens were harnessed to pull the Easter Bunny’s wagon. Perhaps it is less offensive for rabbits instead of humans to decorate eggs and use other animals?
Overall The Easter Egg is one of the more AR friendly Easter stories I have seen and I love the gorgeous layouts and focus on generosity.