Have you read my Easter book BUNNY FINDS EASTER? It released with Zonderkidz last Spring and both then, and now, it’s my hope, that it will be used as a fun introduction to the real meaning of Easter with littlest ones. The story is bouncy and colorful and fits right into an Easter basket.
It was my joy to write and I love how illustrator Ela Jarzabek’s colorful renderings of Bunny and friends complement the joyfully rhyming text.
Though I carefully crafted every line, I must confess that I have a favorite. It comes near the end, when Bunny finds herself in church. All through the book she’s been on a hunt to find what Easter signifies. She’s dyed eggs and nibbled hot cross buns and hopped through an Easter Egg Hunt. But, though all those things can be fun clues, it’s not until this moment near the end of the book that she has that heart moment, when deep inside, she makes the connection and figures it out.
Here’s that scene recapped: Bunny is in her pew as all stand to sing the Easter news.
“Who came to take our sins away? And rose again on Easter Day?”
Here’s the moment:
And on the next spread she joyfully sings the answer: “Jesus!”
This, my friends, is what I pray for all of our children. Not that their whiskers twitch, but that this Easter, deep inside they feel that glow of knowing Jesus came and died and rose again for them.
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Children’s author Valerie Fentress and I have something special in common: We both have faith-based Easter Bunny books that released last spring! And today, in celebration of books that point kids to Jesus at Easter, I am delighted to have Valerie as my guest sharing FIVE FUN FACTS about her book An Easter Bunny’s Tale.
Here’s the official description:
Follow a little rabbit, as he discovers a familiar voice in a garden one night. The man is God in the flesh, of this he is sure, and he cannot help but follow him. The little rabbit is confused as He is captured and put on trial. Then as he hides and waits he discovers the true source of transformation. Now he can’t wait to tell you and his friends about the good news he has found. Will you listen to his tale?
Doesn’t that sound like a creative way to introduce little ones to the Easter story? And now, learn more about Valerie’s book as she shares five fun facts about its creation. Take it away, Valerie!
Five Fun Facts about An Easter Bunny’s Tale with Valerie Fentress
Fact #1: I grew up with the Easter Bunny visiting my home, but when it came time to start making traditions in our young family I struggled with the idea of the Easter Bunny. As I wrestled with how to celebrate Easter with my family and the character of the Easter Bunny, I started to wonder how the bunny we see everywhere could communicate the truth of Easter. This was almost twelve years ago, and the words of this story didn’t come to me till six years ago. This has been a heart project that has grown and stretched my faith in so many ways.
Fact #2: Originally, I wrote and illustrated this for an Easter gift for my nieces and nephews during the COVID shutdown. The book went through a lot of revisions from 2020 to 2022, as God moved my heart to obey his calling to tell stories that speak his truth.
Fact #3: I went through three different illustrators before I found one. My Illustrator, Bebqui, is from Indonesia, and not of a Christian background. Which led to some sweet and faith-stretching conversations for me.
Fact #4:My Illustrator and I had to rework many of the illustrations two months before the book went to print, because of some Beta reader responses. It was so stressful, but I felt that I was honoring God in the changes I made to ensure the Gospel wouldn’t be hindered by anyone reading the book.
Fact #5: My favorite line in the whole book is when Jesus picks up the dirty bunny after Jesus’ resurrection. It says, “His nail-torn hands scooped me up. He didn’t fear the mud and the muck.” It is the sweetest truth that even while we were sinners, Christ died for us. He didn’t wait for us to ‘fix’ ourselves or get ‘cleaned up’. (Here is a portion of that illustration.)
Thank you, Valerie, for giving us an inside peek into the heart behind your story. I hope this Easter Bunny finds his way into many, many Easter baskets.
BIO: Valerie Fentress writes children’s books, hoping to communicate biblical truths through simple stories. She is the author of Beneath the Hood: a retelling woven with biblical truth, and the Host of Again and Again Author interviews on Instagram and YouTube. Valerie lives with her husband and three boys, who challenge her daily to find joy between imagination and chaos. You can find out more about her and her thoughts at www.valeriefentress.com
Last week Bunny (the sweet protagonist from Bunny Finds Easter) and I were invited to our first 2023 Easter Egg Hunt! On Palm Sunday, I’ll be reading Bunny’s story at this event that typically attracts several hundred people. Do you know what that means? It means it’s time to take out my Bunny-inspired Easter bonnet! It also means it’s time to share some ideas for how we as parents, teachers and the church can help our littlest ones understand what Easter is all about.
In Bunny Finds Easter (Zonderkidz, 2022), Bunny is on a quest to find out if Easter is all about chocolate eggs and jelly beans or if it might just be about a little bit more? As the story unfolds, Bunny encounters many of the fun traditions surrounding Easter but it’s not until she arrives and church and they sing an Easter song that she realizes JESUS is the reason we celebrate Easter. Indeed, amidst all the fun of jelly beans and Easter bunnies, it can be hard for little ones to understand that Easter is about Jesus. With that in mind, here are…
Five Fun Ideas to Point Little Ones to JESUS at Easter
Read some faith-filled Easter board books (and picture books too!) With simple text and engaging illustrations an Easter-themed board book that touches on the real meaning of Easter is a cozy, fun way to spark conversation with little ones that Easter is about Jesus and His great love for us – a love shown through the atoning grace of the cross, the joy of His resurrection, and the gift of new life we have in Him.
Do some Easter baking. Little ones love baking and eating sweet treats. That’s why Bunny nibbles hot cross buns in Bunny Finds Easter. According to tradition, hot cross buns were first baked by monks in the 12th century with a cross marked in the dough to commemorate Good Friday. They are relatively easy to make and a delicious reminder of Jesus and the cross. Resurrection rolls are another fun and meaningful baking option that can be used to point little ones to Jesus at Easter. You can find many recipes online for baking and enjoying either or both of these baked items with your little one.
Use jelly beans to point to Jesus. As you and your little ones nibble Easter jelly beans, let them serve as a sweet reminder of Jesus’s love for them and the world. Before sampling each color, think about how it might remind us of Jesus. For example, yellow can remind us that Jesus is the light of the world. Green can remind us of the new life we have in Him. Purple, the color of royalty, can remind us that He is our loving King. Red can remind us that he died and rose again for us. And so on.
Include Jesus in the Easter basket. Fill your children’s Easter baskets with colorful, engaging items that remind them of Jesus. Consider having a faith-based Easter board book serve as the centerpiece. Round it out with small items such as candies, stickers, and other little toys etc. that are in some way connected to Jesus and Easter. Examples: a little lamb (we are His sheep), a glow-in-the-dark cross, chocolate hearts (because Jesus loves us), little chicks and bunnies (to represent new life in Christ) etc.
Sing some “Jesus loves you!” songs. Songs learned, even as young as toddler and preschool age, can have a lasting faith impact on the human soul. Just think of the songs you remember from your childhood and beyond. Do any of them speak of Jesus? If so, they can be a special way to introduce Jesus to your little ones at Easter and throughout the year. Some Easter-y favorites that we love at our house (that are good for little ones too) include: He Lives,Jesus Loves Me, Amazing Grace and more.
OTHER IDEAS for using Bunny Finds Easter specifically:
Have a Bunny Finds EasterBook Walk. This fun intergenerational activity has the feel of an Easter Egg Hunt – and can even include jelly beans and other goodies – but the “hunt” is walking along a trail (outside or inside) to discover progressive spreads of the story BUNNY FINDS EASTER mounted on boards culminating in a craft or activity table at the end of the walk. Get all the details plus the FREE downloadable instruction sheet here.
Get FREE downloadable BUNNY FINDS EASTER activity kit designed especially for littlest ones. The six-page kit includes:
Decorate the Easter Egg
Help Bunny Find Her Way to Church on Easter Morning
How Many Eggs Can You Find?
Draw More Easter Lilies for Bunny
Send an Easter Card to Someone You Love ( foldable printable card)
Interested in ordering Bunny Finds Easter? It’s available wherever books are sold. Happy Monday, all!
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Special Note: This post was created by my ADORABLE niece. She’s just 13 but she sure knows how to create an incredible book scavenger hunt. Enjoy her post. Take it away, Miss E!
Hello, parents! If your kids (and maybe even you!) are really enjoying Laura Sassi’s new book Bunny Finds Easter, you may want to try this BOOK SCAVENGER HUNT. To start, you can read the book to refresh your child’s memory. Then, on each spread, (after reading the words) this list will give you prompts to ask your kids so that they can enjoy the wonderful illustrations even more!
(Remember, if your kid is getting antsy, you don’t have to use all the prompts. You can also make your own–they are open to interpretation. Each illustration can spark many conversations!)
Spread #1 (Bunny waking up and choosing clothes)
Do you see the butterfly? (For older kids: There are six butterflies in this book. Can you find them all?) What color is Bunny’s shirt? How many outfits do you see in Bunny’s wardrobe?
Spread #2 (Scene in the kitchen)
Count the hot cross buns. Can you find 3 plates? Can you find 2 spoons? What do you think is cooking in the pot on the stove?
Spread #3 (Bunny painting eggs)
Can you name and count the colors on Bunny’s palate? Can you count the eggs Bunny painted? (You can point out to your child that the egg Bunny is painting on the left page matches the curtains! These illustrations have many thoughtful details!)
Spread #4 (Bunny picking flowers)
Count the bees. (For older kids: Count the flowers Bunny has picked.) Can you spot the bird’s nest?
Spread #5 (Bunny in the town)
How many lily pads can you find? How many chicks? Can you spot three tadpoles? Can you find the church in the distance?
Spread #6 (Easter egg hunt)
(For older kids: Try to find all 30 eggs.) How many animals do you see? Can you find the church? For an extra challenge, see which animals have baskets.
Spread #7 (In the church)
Count the animals in the room. Which ones are wearing hats? Do you see Bunny? Can you see the cross? What do you think the cross means?
Spread #8 (Bunny and her family)
Have your child point to Bunny’s mommy and then her daddy.
Spread #9 (Happy Easter)
Count Bunny and her friends on the Happy Easter page. Can you find the ladybug? Can you find an animal friend with a heart on his shirt? Which animals have hats? (The list goes on and on.) Then, tell your child more about what Easter is all about!
Wow, Miss E, that was AMAZING! Readers, don’t you agree? And now in celebration of this post (and the fact that Easter is just around the corner), I’m offering a FREE copy of BUNNY FINDS EASTER to one lucky reader. Details below.
BUNNY FINDS EASTER GIVEAWAY!!! If you’d like a chance to win a copy of my newest book BUNNY FINDS EASTER (Zonderkidz, 2022) follow this blog and comment below with your favorite tip from Miss E’s book scavenger hunt. (NOTE: Must be a U.S. resident and at least 18 years old to enter.) Thank you, Zonderkidz, for providing the winning book. This giveaway ends Tuesday, April 5th at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced the next day.
In my new board book, Bunny Finds Easter, Bunny is on a quest to find out if Easter is all about chocolate eggs and jelly beans or if it might just be about a little bit more. Indeed, amidst all the fun of jelly beans and easter bunnies, it can be hard for little ones to understand that Easter is about Jesus. With that in mind, I’m delighted to share the post which Zonderkidz invited me to write for their blog. The topic? Five fun ways to point toddlers and preschoolers to Jesus at Easter.
Happy Friday, friends! Bunny and I have four fun things to share with you this week. First, be sure to check out my blog interview with children’s author and host, Mindy Baker, as we chat about the magical role illustrations play in board books – with a focus on a favorite spread from BUNNY FINDS EASTER. Here’s the link: https://mindybakerbooks.com/a-chat-with-laura-sassi-about-her-new-book/
Third, in case you missed it yesterday at 12:12 eastern, here is the replay of my Instagram LIVE interview with host Valerie Ellis, creator of Our Everyday Parables, a blog dedicated to encouraging and empowering parents to use everyday moments and kids’ books to teach, connect, listen, and inspire. We had some technical difficulties at the beginning, but they resolved and she explains in the link how you can skip over those bits.
Finally, if you haven’t already done so, be sure to enter the 25 book giveaway for BUNNY FINDS EASTER which Zonderkidz is hosting over on Goodreads. (And while you are there, please add the book to your to-read list and/or review it, if you you willing.) Thank you! Here’s the giveaway link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/340275-bunny-finds-easter
HAPPY MONDAY! In celebration of BUNNY FINDS EASTER’s release, Zonderkidz has created several colorful memes which capture the essence of the story. Over the course of the next few weeks, you’ll see them pop up here and there. Here’s the first. Isn’t it darling?
One of the joys of having a new book out is getting to visit and celebrate with a virtual book tour! And because this tour includes more than just blogs, I’ve decided to call it the BUNNY HOP! Each week, we’ll be visiting somewhere fun but it will be a surprise! Don’t worry, I’ll let you know where to go as we hop along together.
And where is Bunny, the sweet protagonist from BUNNY FINDS EASTER (Zonderkidz, February 1, 2022) hopping to today? I’m so glad you asked. She’s over at Big Books, Little Ears, a wonderful website created by Kristen Wynalda, a mom of three who is passionate about reading with kids. Her resources include a weekly newsletter, book lists, book reviews from a Christian-mom perspective, no-prep activities, parenting tips and the occasional guest post – like mine! Today’s post is about EASY WAYS to have an EASTER EGG HUNT focused on JESUS! Writing it has put me in the mood for jelly beans. Thank you for having me Kristin!
Happy Friday, friends. I have two fun items to share today in this little BUNNY FINDS EASTER Bunny Hop round up.
First, yesterday I picked up the framed piece (pictured above) from The Artist Framer, a gem of a local frame shop in my neck of the woods. Stefanie has framed spreads from each of my six children’s books and those framed illustrations now hang in my foyer. This one is a little different however. It was Stefanie’s idea to include both the cover and an interior spread from my new board book! So sweet. What do you think?
Second, the BUNNY FINDS EASTER “Bunny Hop”, as I am calling it, continues this week with a stop at author Darlene Beck Jacobson’s blog where I am answering her question: “How did you come to tell the story in such a simple and wonderful way?” (Thank you, Darlene!) She’s also running a giveaway for one free copy of the book so hop on over. I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s the link:
And be sure to download out the free printable activity kit that goes with book- perfect for extending the book fun with coloring pages, a maze and more!