Easter Egg Hunt!

From Wikipedia:

An Easter egg is an intentional inside joke, hidden message or image, or secret feature of a work (often found in a computer program, video game, or DVD/Blu-ray Disc menu screen). The name is used to evoke the idea of a traditional Easter egg hunt.

I had never heard the term before last week, when Books Around The Table met for our monthly lunch and critique meeting.

I was showing the images I have done so far for Where Lily Isn’t and pointed out a not-so-hidden classic dog book reference (can you find it?) when Bonny Becker brought up the term.

M Chodos-Irvine-Where Lily Isn't pg 10 final

I’ve put Easter Eggs into my illustrations before. In my first picture book – BUZZ, by Janet Wong – I included my eldest daughter’s birthday on one spread,

BUZZ car page

And both my daughters appear in the parade led by the main character at the end of Apple Pie 4th of July, also by Wong.

M Chodos-Irvine Apple Pie 4th of July final spread

On a more somber note, many years ago I heard Maurice Sendak talk about his work for Dear Mili, a lesser known Grimm story about a young child’s journey during wartime. Sendak’s imagery for this book is full of visual clues of his thoughts and influences (perhaps Easter Egg isn’t an appropriate term in this case), including images of Jewish children in Nazi Europe during the Holocaust, the face of Mozart, references to Van Gogh, and many more that I can no longer remember. It is a masterwork, IMHO.

M Sendak- Dear Mili spread 2M Sendak- Dear Mili spread 1

I believe Easter Eggs are common in picture books. Do you know of any? Have you hidden them in your own work? Do tell! It’s the perfect time of year for an Easter Egg hunt!

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11 responses to “Easter Egg Hunt!

  1. Getting ready for an egg hunt in my garden with granddaughter Skyla.After 40years here a final springtime worth celebrating with family. My pear tree is “hidden” in one of Margaret’s early works. Immortalized. Thanks friend.

  2. I’m happy to have a term for this. In Ian Wallace’s Chin Chiang and the Dragon’s Dance there is a small book on the shop counter. You can’t read the title but if you know the cover you recognize Bridge to Terabithia. A sweet little homage.

  3. Margaret, this Where Lily Isn’t illustration is BEAUTIFUL. I can’t wait for the book!

  4. Thank you so much for insight into the various pictures and books, I especially liked the Maurice Sendak Tell me a Mitzi, never knew this concerning the book. Mrs. Arthur L Keith III

  5. laurakvasnosky

    Yes, I have. In an early spread of LITTLE WOLF’S FIRST HOWLING, sharp eyes will see the owlets from OWL BABIES sitting together on a branch. I think of it as an homage (a hoot out?) to this very wonderful book which inspired me with its night time scenes.

  6. Thanks for the poky puppy, my favorite as a child. .Leigh

  7. I put Easter Eggs in my text sometimes. Be a Changemaker has my agent’s name in one the sample templates, and our Two Truths and a Lie books are full of Harry Potter references. And Dana Sullivan has included the cover of my Emmanuel’s Dream in books he has illustrated, which is so exciting! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Easter Eggs in children’s books!! Thanks for sharing these ones. xoxo

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