Six New Books for Your Easter Baskets!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

While lamenting the fact that one of my very favorite Easter books, Petook, was out of print, last year I heard a wonderful rumor that is was coming back!! Then I saw that Ignatius Press was beginning to republish some of Tomie DePaola's most beloved religious books, and my heart started beating faster... Lo and behold, while checking used prices for Petook months later, the pre-order link popped up for the newest edition!! I told everybody I know, I was so excited. And I not-so-subtly hinted that if Ignatius wanted to send me a copy, I would review it in a heartbeat!


WELL. They not only sent Petook, but also some of their other new releases, which would make perfect Easter basket fillers if you're looking for literary options! 

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First up, of course, is Petook (Amazon, Bookshop). Written by Caryll Houselander and illustrated by Tomie DePaola, this is an absolute must-have if there are young children in your house! The prose is unparalleled, and the illustrations full of depth. Perfect even for the most sensitive child, there are no graphic illustrations or descriptions of the crucifixion (something I know can overwhelm certain children), just a gentle introduction to the story of Easter from the perspective of the rooster Petook, who happens to live in a farmyard with a view of Calvary.

Recommended for ages 5+, my 2-year-old and 4-year-old were also very happy to sit and listen as well (they're big fans of Tomie DePaola).
The next book way the biggest hit with my older children (8, 10, and 11.5)—they have been reading it nonstop for the past few days, passing it around to one another, neglecting chores, squabbling over whose turn is next... A sign of a truly engaging book!! Holy Mysteries! (Amazon, Bookshop) gives background information on a variety of miracles, in an exciting "news bulletin" format, with lots of pictures and details. We have a similar secular book from another publisher, and all the kids agreed that they liked this one much better! Recommended for age 9+, but definitely works for slightly younger as well.

Jesus, I Adore You (Amazon, Bookshop) is a guide to Eucharist Adoration for young children. The illustrations are very sweet, with lots of helpful information on how to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, quotations from saints, special prayers, and practical tips. This would be a great book to read before trying to make a holy hour (or holy half hour, or holy five minutes, whatever works!) with your young children!
Anger! (Amazon, Bookshop) Wow, we deal with this a lot in our house... I'm hopeful that these anecdotes, along with the advice for anger management offered, help some of my more volatile children be able to channel those emotions in a healthy manner. The book also focuses on a few different virtues, and how those apply to anger. I think this is a really promising series, and I'm looking forward to what else they focus on in future books!
I love this series of saint biographies from Ignatius Press, and we own quite a few already! Louis and Zelie: The Holy Parents of St. Therese (Amazon, Bookshop) is the latest in the series, which is aimed for older children and teens, but honestly works well for adults as well, if you're looking for saint biographies that are a little on the lighter side. I'm looking forward to reading this myself, and will likely suggest it as spiritual reading for our 10-year-old and 11-year-old. 
A Lion for the Emperor (Amazon, Bookshop) is the second book in a promising new series about persecuted Christians in ancient Rome. We don't have the first book in the series, and it looks like I'll have to buy it - my 11-year-old is enjoying this quite a lot, though he says it's a little confusing with no background information that likely was provided in the first book. Both my 10-year-old and 11-year-old tore through a similar secular series and adored it, and I'm looking forward to them being engaged in this series, which brings to life some of the persecution that early Christians experienced. If you have tweens or teens who love adventure, definitely give this series a try!
Thank you so much to Ignatius Press for sending us these amazing books!

You can see more of my book picks here (from independent booksellers) and here (on Amazon), and here's another list of our other favorite books for Lent and Easter!


  1. These are such great suggestions! I've never heard of Petook but it looks like an awesome book! The Holy Mysteries one captures my attention as well. Defintely have to bookmark for future reference!

    Thanks for writing!


    1. They're 25% off through Ignatius Press right now, too! Definitely bought a few more for Easter baskets 😊

  2. Petook really is beautiful. It has lovely descriptions of what good fathers and mothers do, too. And yes, those three youngest children of yours loved my reading it to them so much that they actually made the transition from a cramped chair to the uncramped sofa with no complaining at all, as long as I would continue with the book. It's a Lenten miracle!

    1. Lucy will listen to ANYTHING illustrated by Tomie DePaola!


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