I am a big fan of authors and illustrators.
I get really excited when I am reading a book and the author references another book. It makes me feel a special connection. Or, even better, if the story takes place near where I live and they mention a local spot and I know where it is – I AM OVER THE MOON with joy. I feel even more connected to the author, as if we are sharing a special secret.
It’s the same with illustrators. When I find the pigeon in each of Mo Willems books, I feel a special thrill. I love playing ‘Let’s find Brad Meltzer in each of Ordinary People Change the World books’.
Very recently, I found out my husband also plays this game while reading our daughter her bedtime stories. Her latest favorite is Wolfie, the Bunny by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora.
Imagine my surprise when he comes upstairs with the book in one hand and a Frank Zappa album in the other. One of Dot’s friends is wearing the same T-shirt as Frank in one of the album liners. It turns out the illustrator is a huge Frank Zappa fan and references different things in his illustrations and books.
I appreciate the amount of effort that an author and/or illustrator must go through. Certainly, most of these references are lost on the little ones who are currently reading the books. But, for those of us adults who have to read the books over and over and over (and over) these little gems can make the 200th reading just a bit more tolerable.