Fifteen years after its original publication, this sentimental story that explains the symbolism behind Easter eggs and their role in remembering the Resurrection receives new illustrations.
The story of Thomas, who is whisked away in the middle of the night and deposited with the kindly owners of a candy store when his sister falls ill with scarlet fever, is done no favors by the new illustrations. Cowdrey’s pastel-colored illustrations harken back to an undefined, idealized past of wood (or coal) cookstoves and genuine penny candy. They are certainly cheery in palette, but the characters tend to stare out at readers with fixed, earnest expressions, and the little white dog that appears on most pages often looks downright creepy. The story is a long and disjointed one, devoting a whole spread to a hailstorm that does nothing to move the plot along and neglecting to explain to readers the reasons for Thomas’ exile (the notion of quarantine is never discussed). Children will naturally wonder why Thomas’ parents never come to visit him at the candy shop, and Cowdrey does nothing in the illustrations to fill this or other narrative gaps. They will also likely grow impatient before the connection between Easter eggs and the Easter story is explained. The layout, which crams the text into thin columns on the far edges of most double-page spreads, does little to help the pacing.
Missable. (Picture book. 3-5)