Hidden (or not) Things to Spot in Famous Picture Books

Hidden (or not) Things to Spot in Famous Picture Books

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!

Things to Spot in Famous Picture Books

Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd

things to find in Goodnight Moon

Look for a white mouse on every color page spread and also check out the clock in the room. It takes mother bunny a full hour to put her baby to bed.

Goodnight, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman

things to find in Goodnight, Gorilla

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

Things to find in 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

Things to find in The Mysterious Tadpole

Look in all of his books for his dog, Pinkerton, and cat, Secondhand Rose.

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Jan Brett has hedgehog in all her books

She hides a hedgehog in all her books.

Waiting for Wings by Lois Elhert

Things to find in Lois Ehlert's books

Lois Elhert hides a heart in each of her books.

The Extinct Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Ralph Masiello

Jerry Pallotta hidden in The Extinct Alphabet Book Ralph Masiello

Ralph hides pictures of Jerry and others in his artwork.

In The Skull Alphabet Book, Ralph hid 43 United States presidents.

The Skull Alphabet Book

Curious George books by H. A. Rey

Things to find in Curious George books

His black cocker spaniel is in each of Curious George books.

Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg

things to find in Chris Van Allsburg books

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

spot white scottie dog in Maurice Sendak's books

Look for Maurice Sendak’s terrier, “Scottie,” in each of his books.

Miss Nelson series James Marshall

Harry Allard has Texas Flag in all his books

Illustrator James Marshall includes the flag of Texas in each of his books.

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Caps for Sale Tree looks like a giant hand

It may not be deliberate, but look for the big hand in the tree.

 To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

Hidden (or not) Things to Spot in Famous Picture Books

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. So fun! We used to read a book series through Usborne called Farmyard tales and they hid a tiny yellow duck on each page. My boys loved looking for him on each page!
    Mother of 3 recently posted…Homeschooling Through the Alphabet: P is for PersonalizedMy Profile

  2. Loved loved recent blog posting as I’ve read all book listed many times and never spotted these hidden pictures

  3. I spy several favorites in this post! I love the things Jan Brett hides in her books.
    maryanne recently posted…How One Roll of Car Tape Inspired Hours of Pretend PlayMy Profile

  4. Enjoyed this post. I certainly missed some great hidden things in some of my favorite books.
    Patricia Tilton recently posted…The Big Adventures of Tiny House by Susan Schaefer BernardoMy Profile

  5. I loved seeing all of the hidden wonders & learning the reasons for them.
    Patricia Nozell recently posted…PPBF – Rainbow WeaverMy Profile

  6. British American

    Julia Donaldson books illustrated by Axel Sheffler have the Gruffalo hiding in them. The ones illustrated by David Roberts have cross over illustrations too – like Tyrannosaurus Drip shows up in another book.
    Mo Willems hides the pigeon in his books. Leonardo the Terrible Monster shows up in Knuffle Bunny Too.
    Fergus the dog shows up in David Shannon books.
    My kids love spotting things like this. 🙂

  7. Betty

    Denise Fleming’s book, The Everything Book, has 119 ladybugs spread throughout the book. In William Shakespeare & the Globe, by Aliki, she and her husband are pictured in the audience scene at the end of the book, along with several of their real-life friends. Donald Crew added himself to Night at the Fair; he’s the guy with the camera on the right hand page of the double spread Race-A-Way Fun scene.

  8. In Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner’s SNOWMEN books, they hide several animals such as a bunny, cat, T-rex, and more hidden snowmen on each page. The only issue is that some of them are hidden too well and we’ve never found them! But still super fun and gorgeous artwork. I love Mo Willems’ Pigeon popping up here and there in his other books. I’m still looking for more like the mouse in Goodnight Moon where there is one simple, repeated image on each page…

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