Though we hope for warmer weather come April, the truth is that there is never a bad time to settle down with a good book – whether you’re reading yourself, to a child or gifting a little one with a great read.
Spring and, indeed, Easter is a great time to freshen up your children’s book collections – whether you plan to sit outside and read or cozy up indoors. Story time is good to have on hand as an option for the school holidays, as well as post-Easter egg eating fun.
Whatever setting, ready is a great activity to break away from digital life and spend quality time together as a family. There are plenty of children’s authors and titles which make for great gifts so weather you’re planning to explore a new fictional world or revisit a past-time favourite, the following novels are a great place to make your choice.
Best children’s books for Easter 2022
The death of 94-year-old Shirley Hughes has robbed children’s fiction of one of its most cherished names. While she is best known for stories such as Dogger (1977, Penguin Random House, £7.99), about the near-tragedy of a missing toy, her most recent book Round and Round the Garden (Walker, £12.99) was published only months before she died. Containing Hughes’s favorite nursery rhymes, illustrated with her inimitable eye for domestic detail, this delightful anthology offers a glimpse into the artist’s own childhood inspirations from her.
There is more trouble for fiction’s most well-meaning bear in Paddington’s Easter Egg Hunt (Harper Collins, £12.99), a new story by Michael Bond, unearthed five years after his death. This time, the accident-prone Paddington finds himself purchasing stolen Easter eggs – which turn out to be shattered.
Mouse’s Wood: A Year in Nature by Alice Melvin (Thames & Hudson, £14.99) is an utter gem. Told in gentle rhyming text, with dreamy illustrations, it follows a mouse as he embraces the changing seasons in his woodland home. “Stretched out on a checkered sheet,/ we while away the day,/ basking in the dappled sunlight;/ picnicking in May.”
Board books are not known for their subtlety of language – but poetic toddlers will relish the sophisticated wordplay in Bumble Grumblebee by David Elliot (Gecko, £7.99), in which different animals contour their names as they make mayhem out of daily chores. The cockatoo is getting dressed all wrong – “Cockatoo Sockatoo” – and oh dear, watch out for “Pelican Smellican” on the potty!
For readers of seven and above, The Accidental Diary of BUG (Puffin, £6.99) by Jen Carney is the chatty, zappily illustrated diary of schoolgirl Billie Upton Green. (“OMG and OMG, do I have some news to share!”) Sticking to the well-tested format of an un-starry protagonist for whom nothing goes quite right, Carney cleverly captures the scope for Jacobean drama in a typical school day.
Fans of more traditional schoolgirl fiction will love Libby and the Parisian Puzzle (Firefly, £7.99), the first in a new series by the debut novelist Jo Clarke. We meet our heroine en route to Paris to join her from her Aunt Agatha’s eccentric traveling school from her: “Her mum from her wiped away a tear… ‘Have a fabulous time Libby. [And] remember, not everything is a mystery waiting for you to solve it.’” But when her aunt is arrested for carrying out a jewel robbery, it falls to Libby to find the real culprit.