Picture Book Barcode Bonanza

Last month on 100 Scope Notes, Travis Jonker shared a wonderful post called “The Art of the Picture Book Barcode.”

Now I have always loved spotting a well-placed barcode on the back of a picture book. Seeing a collection of that kind of awesomeness? What more could I want?!

I thought it would be fun to dig through some of my picture books and add a few extras to the mix.


Edgar’s Second Word

by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Priscilla Burris

The barcode is part of the loot piled in a wagon.




by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Scott Magoon

The barcode serves as part of the labeling on a sugar packet.



Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World)

by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Dan Santat

The barcode looks like robot talk.




written and illustrated by Anna Walker

The barcode makes a lovely stand for a chicken.



Rabbit & Squirrel:  A Tale of War and Peas

by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Scott Magoon

The barcode looks like one of the labels in the garden.



Nugget & Fang

by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Michael Slack

The barcode gives the little crab on the sea floor something important to do.



Do you have a favorite picture book barcode? If so, please share in the comments.

Tammi Sauer

Tammi Sauer, a former teacher and library media specialist, is a full-time children's book author who presents at schools and conferences across the country. She has more than 30 published picture books and has many others on the way. Her books have received awards, earned starred reviews, made lists, been made into musicals, and been translated into many different languages. Most importantly, kids really like her books! To learn more about Tammi and her books, please visit tammisauer.com and follow her on Twitter at @SauerTammi.


  1. Oh, wow. I never noticed the art surrounding bar codes on pbs before. Thanks for pointing that out, Tammi!

  2. It’s actually surprising to me how few barcodes ARE incorporated into the art, Tina. I wish there would be more!

  3. That was fun! I’m going to look through my books and see what I can find. And, I’ll check out the back cover more closely from now on!

  4. Never, ever noticed the barcodes before! So here are three: 1) Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelman — kittens are peeking out from behind the barcode. 2) Princess Hyacinth (the Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated) by Florence Parry Heide — the barcode is one of a long string of items weighing Princess Hyacinth to the ground. 3) Boom! by Mary Lyn Ray — the barcode is rain coming down from a thundercloud. Love this one!!

  5. This should be the new way to do it. After seeing these– the bar codes just plastered on seem lame…

  6. Fun post! I agree with everyone, I think all barcodes on picture books should serve a purpose, how fun would that be! Especially if kids knew to look for it.

  7. I’ve got THIS IS A MOOSE by Richard Morris on my desk right now. Tom Lichtenheld has the bar code sitting in a canoe (rowed by a giraffe) with a bunny perched on top of it. So clever, these artists. Fun post!

  8. LOVE this, Tammi! I hadn’t ever paid any attention to the position of the barcode–so funny. Now I’ll be sure to look at every PB I read. Thank you!

  9. I love this! I’d never given the barcode a second thought.

  10. I feel like I’ve been missing out! Will be checking my bookshelves for barcodes.

  11. In “Claudette” the barcode looks like rain!

  12. Artists are the BEST!!!!

  13. These are awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  14. This is great. I love it. I will be on the lookout from now on.

  15. picturebookbuilders

    What a fun topic! And now you’ve got me on the hunt for more!

  16. I’ve never noticed these clever bar codes, Tammi. What have I been missing???? Time to pay attention to a picture book, all the way to the very last bit!

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