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Animal Character, Conflict Resolution, Early/Young Readers, Humor, Interactive Idea Springboard, Read-Aloud Suggestions, Teacher & Parent Recommendations

THE EASTER BUNNY’S ASSISTANT by Jan Thomas

I love Jan Thomas’ characteristic style of bright, single-color backgrounds behind richly expressive animal characters embroiled in a humorous situation.  The Easter Bunny’s Assistant does all that and a little more!

Easter Bunny demonstrates for the reader how to make “BEAUTIFUL Easter eggs.” His assistant is the enthusiastic Skunk. After each step in the Egg-decorating process is introduced, Skunk becomes so excited about it that he involuntarily emits an unpleasant skunk odor(implied by a flat green color background). The situation builds in intensity until Easter Bunny creates Step 4:

REMOVE SKUNK FROM ROOM.

Push, if necessary.

Skunk sadly watches Easter Bunny complete Step 5 through a window. Easter Bunny asks the reader if they should let Skunk help hide the eggs. The final story illustration shows Easter Bunny, now wearing a clothespin on his nose, together with a joyful Skunk and the eggs.

Jan Thomas brilliantly employs a simple humor hook–Skunk’s bad smell–to create a story structure that models organization and planning, as well as problem-solving. The Easter Bunny’s Assistant also acknowledges the frustration that often accompanies conflict and subtly demonstrates how it can be addressed through empathy and compromise.

The final two-page layout is a review of all 5 steps for decorating Easter eggs (with a few extra details for adults). Having this at the end of the story provides a perfect springboard to decorate Easter eggs with your little ones. Regardless of whether or not you plan to decorate Easter eggs, The Easter Bunny’s Assistant is a fun, delightful story–particularly at Easter time.

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