It’s fun to discover hidden things to spot or personal references in beloved picture books. My husband and I delighted in searching for the mouse in Goodnight Moon with our kids. I think it was my husband who pointed out the red balloon hidden in Goodnight, Gorilla to me. After that, the hunt was on. We loved to figure out what surprises illustrators left to be discovered.
How about you? What things have you noticed in picture books that are hidden away, or, a signature reference, in plain sight by your favorite illustrators? Thanks for sharing!
Secret Things to Spot in Famous Picture Books
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd
Look for a white mouse on every color page spread and also check out the clock in the room. It takes the mother bunny a full hour to put her baby to bed.
Goodnight, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
Look for the red balloon on every spread. It’s hard to find! We also like to spot the mouse who’s hauling a banana. Finally, check out the photos in the zookeeper’s house. It’s baby pictures of the zoo animals.
Arthur series by Marc Brown
Marc Brown hides the names of his kids, Tucker, Tolon, and Eliza. Sometimes his wife, Laurie, is included too.
The Mysterious Tadpole by Steven Kellogg
Look in all of his books for his dog, Pinkerton, and cat, Secondhand Rose.
The Mitten by Jan Brett
She hides a hedgehog in all her books.
Waiting for Wings by Lois Elhert
Lois Elhert hides a heart in each of her books.
The Extinct Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Ralph Masiello
Ralph hides pictures of Jerry and others in his artwork.
In The Skull Alphabet Book, Ralph hid 43 United States presidents.
Curious George books by H. A. Rey
His black cocker spaniel is in each of Curious George books.
Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg
Chris Van Allsburg includes a white dog with a patch over one eye in all his books.
Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Look for Maurice Sendak’s terrier, “Scottie,” in each of his books.
Miss Nelson series James Marshall
Illustrator James Marshall includes the flag of Texas in each of his books.
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
It may not be deliberate, but look for the big hand in the tree.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.