McGrath extends her series of holiday-themed retellings of “The Little Red Hen” with her third entry, this time focusing on Easter.
On an old-fashioned farm, a gray bunny is getting ready for Easter in the barn where he lives with his three friends: a lamb, a turtle and a duck. The bunny is resourceful and industrious, like his Little Red Hen counterpart, but the three friends are predictably lazy and self-involved. The lamb focuses on finding more hay, the turtle hides and plays peekaboo, and the duck searches for any sort of water for swimming. The text follows the familiar structure of the traditional tale, with lots of humor woven in, including silly responses from the turtle and clever rejoinders from the bunny. (“These creatures have no artistic imagination.”) Cartoon-style illustrations in watercolor, pen and gouache add zing with a bright palette of springtime colors and an individual personality for each character. The lazy friends get their comeuppance just as in the original story, when the bunny enjoys the Easter goodies and the friends are stuck with just-hatched, mischievous chicks instead of cupcakes and jelly beans.
An amusing tale, especially for children already familiar with the original folk tale. (Picture book. 3-6)