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Answers to Rockwell’s April Fools Covers

After six grueling months of hard work on his famous Four Freedoms, Rockwell did a whimsical cover to relax. Although lighthearted in nature, Rockwell’s 1943 April Fools cover still features the painstaking amount of detail for which the artist was known, packing odd and amusing details into almost every square inch. The cover concept proved so popular with readers that Rockwell did two more such April covers for that decade, in 1945 and 1948. Today, readers still delight in scrutinizing these covers—and even find new errors from time to time. Can you spot all of them?

If you would like to enlarge a cover, click on its image below.

April 1943

April Fool by Norman Rockwell - April 3, 1943

April Fool, 1943
Norman Rockwell
April 3, 1943

The principal April fooleries in the painting are:
1. the trout, the fishhook and the water, all on the stairway;
2. the stairway running behind the fireplace,
an architectural impossibility;
3. the mailbox;
4. the faucet;
5. wall-paper upside down;
6. wallpaper has two designs;
7. the scissors candlestick;
8. silhouettes upside down;
9. bacon and egg on the decorative plate;
10. the April-fool clock;
11. the portraits;
12. ducks in the living room;
13. zebra looking out of the frame;
14. mouse looking out of the mantelpiece;
15. a tire for the iron rim of the mantelpiece;
16. medicine bottle and glass floating in the air;
17. fork in-stead of a spoon on the bottle;
18. the old lady’s hip pocket;
19. the newspaper in her pocket;
20. her wedding ring on the wrong hand;
21. buttons on the wrong aide of her sweater;
22. crown on her head;
23. stillson wrench for a nutcracker in her hand;
24. skunk on her lap;
25. she is wearing trousers;
26. she has on ice skates;
27. no checkers on checkerboard;
28. wrong number of squares on checkerboard;
29. too many fingers on old man’s hand;
30. erasers on both ends of his pencil;
31. he is wearing a skirt;
32. he has a bird in his pocket;
33. he is wearing roller skates;
34. he has a hoe for a cane;
35. billfold on string tied to his finger;
36. milkweed growing in room;
37. milk bottle on milkweed;
38. deer under chair;
39. dog’s paws on deer;
40. mushrooms;
41. woodpecker pecking chair;
42. buckle on man’s slipper;
43. artist’s signature in reverse.

Check out the interactive cover we ran back in 2009. It shows the level of detail Rockwell put into these whimsical paintings.

March 1945

April Fool by Norman Rockwell - March 31, 1945

April Fool, 1945
Norman Rockwell
March 31, 1945

1. Apples on maple tree.
2. Different-color apples.
3. Baseball among apples.
4. Pine boughs.
5. Pine cone should point down under bough.
6. Horse-chestnut leaves.
7. Grapes.
8. April 1st comes on Sunday, not Monday.
9. Penguins don’t fly.
10. Halo.
11. Nest on phone.
12. Different-color eggs.
13. Phone wire on wrong end of receiver.
14. Different or wrong color butterflies.
15. Books on tree.
16. Castle in landscape.
17. Lighthouse and ship.
18. Earmuffs.
19. Fur collar on velvet jacket.
20. Two different designs on shirt.
21. Shirt buttoned wrong way.
22. Life jacket.
23. Three hands.
24. Cigarette and pipe used at same time.
25. Collar and necktie on bird.
26. Fly-casting reel on bait-casting rod.
27. Cloth patches on waders.
28. Rod upside down.
29. Alligators as roots.
30. Cobra in mandolin.
31. Ribbon on mandolin.
32. Post heading on wrong side of magazine.
33. Snow scene.
34. Horizons different on two scenes.
35. Horns on mouse’s head.
36. Animal head on turtle.
37. You’re wrong; there are blue lobsters although they are
extremely unusual freaks of nature.
38. Tomato picture on plum can.
39. House slippers on skis.
40. Shells.
41. Dutchman’s-breeches.
42. Lady’s-slipper.
43. Buttercup.
44. Thimbleweed.
45. Bachelor-buttons.
46. Poison ivy.
47. Signature upside down.
48. Skis without backs.
49. Lead sinkers on line should be below floater.
50. Floater upside down.
51. Red should be at top of floater in right position.

April 1948

April Fool’s 1948 by Norman Rockwell - April 3, 1948

April Fool, 1948
Norman Rockwell
April 3, 1948

1. Two kinds of molding on cupboard.
2. North American Pileated Woodpecker head on
crane’s body.
3. Coffeepot spout upside down.
4. Barbed wire instead of clothesline.
5. Insigne on back of fireman’s helmet.
6. Green and red lights re¬versed on ship’s lantern.
7. Beast crouched on upper shelf.
8. Cup not hanging by handle.
9. Electric bulbs growing on plant.
10. Head of little girl on man’s bust.
11. Rat’s tail on chipmunk.
12. Penholder with pencil eraser.
13. Top of brass vase suspended.
14. Face in clock.
15. Candle where kerosene lamp should be.
16. Sampler dated 1216.
17. Winter seen through left window, summer through right.
18. Antique dealer’s head on dolls.
19. Nine branches on traditional seven-branch candelabra.
20. Girl’s hair in pigtail on one side, loose on other.
21. Titles on books vertical instead of horizontal.
22. Girl’s sweater buttoned wrong way.
23. Mouthpiece on both ends of phone.
24. Phone not connected.
25. Goat’s head, deer’s antlers.
26. No shelf under books.
27. Lace cuff on man’s shirt.
28. Five fingers and thumb on girl’s hand.
29. Gun barrel in wrong place.
30. Saddle on animal.
31. Potted plant on lighted stove.
32. Girl’s purse is a book.
33. Only half a strap on girl’s purse.
34. Skunk in girl’s arms.
35. Sea gull with crane’s legs.
36. Stovepipe missing.
37. Mona Lisa has halo.
38. Mona Lisa facing wrong way.
39. Abraham Lincoln with General Grant’s military coat.
40. Stove has April Fool on it.
41. Hoofs instead of feet on doll.
42. Little girl sitting on nothing.
43. Rogers group is combination of soldier from
Our Hero and girl from “Blushing Bride.”
44. Brass kettle has two spouts.
45. Spur on antique dealer’s shoe.
46. Mouse and ground mole conferring.
47. Ground mole’s tracks in wooden floor.
48. Dog’s head on cat’s body.
49. Raccoon’s tail on eat’s body.
50. Ball fringe standing straight up at angle.
51. Stove minus one leg.
52. Two kinds of floor.
53. Signature reversed.
54. Last name spelled wrong.
55. Flowers growing in floor.
56. Girl’s socks don’t match.


  • Sarah

    in 1948 April Fools the girl’s shoes do not match!

  • ron friedman

    I have this painting in pastel on cloth. It looks exact, and I’m wondering if it was done by Rockwell.