My Easter Basket: And the true story of Easter by Mary Manz Simon encourages a symbolic connection between the cultural aspects and the religious foundations of this holiday. It begins "The colors in this basket are my own special way for me to tell the story of that first Easter Day."
Through sturdy die-cut pages, the text then highlights different colors (green, purple, red, white, brown and yellow) and tells what these can remind us of the biblical story of Jesus. For example, green (this page shows an egg dyed green, but this could also relate to the green Easter grass) reminds us of the palm branches set before Jesus during his triumphal entry. The story, as told through these symbolic colors, goes from Palm Sunday through the resurrection on Easter Day. The book concludes with John 11:25, quoted from the International Children's Bible, New Century Version. "Jesus said, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will have life even if he dies. And he who lives and believes in me will never die.'"
The illustrations by Linda Clearwater feature heavy outlines, vibrant colors and lots of glitter. While the main part of the book shows an Easter basket and all the goodies stuffed inside, an inset shows the events of the first Easter: Palm Sunday, the last supper, the rock rolled away, etc.
What I Like: Everything! This book incorporates current cultural traditions without making them the focus of the holiday. Rather it reminds children what's important about Easter by giving an accurate, but easy to understand retelling. The book is solid and attractive.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Age Appeal: The publisher says 3 and up, but I think younger children would enjoy it as well. I would say 0-6.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Publisher Info: Standard Publishing Company, 2003; ISBN: 0784713561; Die-cut Board Book; $13.99
Special Info: Please note that the book references wine at the last supper. (The color purple symbolizes this.) Also, three of the illustrations show Jesus's face.