Book: Mia: The Easter Egg Chase
Author: Robin Farley
Illustrators: Olga Ivanov and Aleksey Ivanov
Age Range: 3-6
If you are looking for a fun book to include in your preschool daughter's Easter basket, Mia: The Easter Egg Chase should fit the bill. This book is part of a character-driven series that includes both text-heavy paperback picture books and "I Can Read" books. The picture books are each holiday-themed, while the early readers are focused on Mia's experiences in dance class.
This approach in general, publishing pre-early readers and early readers about the same character, is one that I am learning to appreciate as a parent. My daughter isn't really ready for early readers, but she has learned to love this character, and we're already dipping into books for the next phase when we run across them at the library. (This is very similar to our situation with the Mercer Mayer Little Critter books.) These are the sort of books that would have been invisible to me prior to becoming a parent, but I can't argue with their kid-accessibility (and low cost).
Mia: The Easter Egg Chase starts out with Mia Cat and her father dyeing Easter eggs. They fill a big basket with eggs, and leave them overnight for the Easter Bunny to hide. The next day, all of Mia's cousins come over for an Easter egg hunt, including Mia's favorite cousin, little Sophie. When the bigger, faster kids keep Sophie from getting any eggs, Mia has to decide whether to help Sophie, or achieve her own goal of securing the special chocolate bunny. A happy ending occurs for all.
There is also a page of Easter egg hunt-themed stickers, and a special page at the end where kids are supposed to place them. In our house, as I'm sure is the case in many houses, the stickers actually end up sprinkled all over the book. The stickers, which include a wide assortment of colored Easter eggs, are a particularly good fit with this story (see also books in the series about Halloween and Valentine's Day). My daughter placed a whole bunch next to an early picture of Sophie, "giving her some eggs."
Another thing that I thought worked well in this story was the Easter egg hunt itself. My daughter enjoys scouring the pages of the book, looking for the eggs herself, and pointing them out to Sophie and Mia.
The Ivanovs' illustrations are not ground-breaking, but they are well done. Tutu-wearing kitten Mia is sure to appeal to preschool-age girls. Details about Mia's love of dance abound throughout the story (her ballet dancer lamp, a dancer on the cover of the book her mother reads to her before bed, etc.). The Cats' house is cozy and warm, and Mia's parents and grandparents are pretty much always smiling. And bunny-ears-wearing Sophie, pictured on the cover image above, is hard to resist.
Mia: The Easter Egg Chase has been a hit in our house for months now. The combination of cute, feminine kitten protagonists, an easily resolved ethical dilemma, chocolate bunnies, and stickers is a winner. And, since this is a small paperback book, I reiterate that it would be a nice book to stick in a child's Easter basket.
Publisher: HarperFestival (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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