A rabbit named Fern solves a mystery as she follows clues in the shape of decorated eggs painted with the faces of her farm-animal friends.
A dramatic cover photograph of a huge rabbit in a basket of intricately decorated Easter eggs draws readers into this story, the fifth in the Sweet Pea & Friends series. The story is illustrated with photographs of the animals that live on the author-photographer team’s farm in Vermont, with a large cast of characters who have appeared in previous books in the series. The production values of these digitally composed photographic illustrations are outstanding, with an oversized format, high-quality paper, and brilliant colors that showcase the beautifully painted eggs hidden throughout. Many of the eggs are painted in Ukrainian folk-art style, with one large egg on each spread decorated with an animal character’s face, predicting the appearance of that animal on the next spread. The actual story is a little too wordy for the intended audience, with a rather confusing total of 17 named characters to keep straight as the simple mystery of who planted the eggs unfolds. The solution to the mystery of the face-bedecked eggs is, of course, revealed with the appearance of the Easter Bunny, who has been glimpsed throughout the previous illustrations. A concluding note provides more information about the farm animals and the artist who painted the eggs.
The magical quality of the photographic illustrations and the enchanting eggs give this Easter-themed story extra appeal. (Picture book. 3-7)