Every Toy Story Easter Egg on Andy's Bookshelf Explained
Pixar animators are always fond of Easter eggs, and many of the titles on Andy's shelf in Toy Story have special meaning.
While it only makes a brief on-screen appearance in Toy Story, Andy's Bookshelf is a virtual treasure trove of Easter eggs that pay homage to Pixar's past. During Woody's birthday staff meeting at the beginning of the film, viewers get a quick glimpse of the bookshelves, and most titles are animated enough to read while Woody is speaking. While some books (like Great Places to Visit for Kids) are just vague space fillers, others (like Tin Toys and Red Dreams) add visual interest to the background while actually having a deeper meaning.
Pixar was an ambitious studio from the start, and the release of Toy Story as the first full-length computer-animated film was a momentous moment in animation, much like Walt Disney's Snow White and Same as Seven Dwarfs. From the beginning, Pixarte has teased future films with Easter eggs, even using them as subtle homages to their crew and earlier shorts. Most background objects in a Pixar film are references to something else, and Andy's bookshelf is the first time the studio has used a design element to tell a story story.
Grimm's Fairy Tales
The most obvious book on Andy's shelf is the classic fairy tale collection of the Brothers Grimm, which has been an inspiration for numerous other mediums since it was first published in 1812. Even Disney has referenced these stories, and while films like Tangled have made drastic changes to their original sources, they're still adaptations of familiar fairy tales. The book's inclusion could be an acknowledgment of Disney and its support of Pixar, or a reference to a story that has fueled the imagination for centuries. Toy Story is about growing up, while Grimm's fairy tales are quintessential childhood literature.
Like Disney, Pixar took many years to make short films before finally taking off with feature films, and most of the books on Andy's shelf refer to the studio's past work. The book, Knick Knack, is a tribute to the short film of the same name released in 1989 and tells the story of a sad yeti who wishes to escape the snowball's captivity so he can be with the beautiful mermaid. Just a few years before Toy Story changed animated movies forever, Pixar are making content that will ultimately lead to their dramatic triumph.
Director John Lasseter's work with Pixar is an integral part of the studio's legacy, and the book Tin Toy is a direct reference to the filmmaker and one of his early achievements. The book takes its title from a 1988 short film about a toy soldier whose life is turned upside down by the sudden appearance of a baby. Unlike other books on the shelf that don't have an author on the spine, Tin Toy is authored by Lasseter. Considering the fact that it featured toys, there's little doubt that tin toys had a direct impact on the final making of Toy Story.
Ant And Bee Go On Vacation
Pixar's Easter eggs range from references to The Shining from Toy Story to more family-friendly nods, such as the title of "The Ants and the Bees Go on Vacation" which appears on Andy's bookshelf. The Easter eggs are a reference to the classic children's book series about playful ants and hardworking bees going on various adventures together. Interestingly, Ant headers and Bee Go on Vacation does not reference actual entries in the series and is entirely fictional. While not directly related to Toy Story, the Ants and the Bees series is another important part of many childhoods.
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The studio's years of making short films allowed them to hone their storytelling skills to the extreme, and shorts like Red's Dream helped establish Pixar's "what if X had feelings" formula. The title of this classic 1987 short, which appears on the spine of one of Andy's books, conjures up the story of an abandoned unicycle in a bike shop that dreams of being ridden one day by a jovial clown. Even by Toy Story standards, Red's Dream is an excellent short because it showcases Pixar's unparalleled storytelling abilities.
By 1995, Pixar had been making computer-generated shorts for a decade, and it only made sense for animators to pay homage to the shorts that made them famous. The book "The Adventures of Andre and Wally B." cites an early short film that actually predates Pixar's founding. Before George Lucas sold Star Wars to Disney, Pixar was a subsidiary of Lucasfilm, The fledgling studio produced this short film, which introduced a host of new technologies that are still in use today. Key figures like Lasseter, who worked on the short, are a nod to the 1984 film's importance to Pixar's future.
The Adventures Of André And Wally B.
Scream for Lasseter was apparently a Pixar Easter egg, but in 1995, the mystery book titled Smyrl Smyrl Twist and Twirl meant little to audiences. The title actually references veteran Pixar artist Eliot K. Smyrl, who not only worked on the toy story, but has since contributed to many of Pixar's best films. Smyrl's work was integral to the early development of Pixar's iconic look, adding visual consistency and helping make the studio what it is today. Easter eggs will no doubt continue to add another layer of visual interest to the Pixar film experience as more films are released.