A new book by graphic artist Jordan Crane, from McMullen's (a children's imprint from McSweeney's), employs a nifty trick that falls somewhere between Hypercolor shirt technology, and scratch and sniff stickers. Each page features hidden illustrations that are only revealed after rubbing sections of heat-sensitive disappearing ink.
In Keep Our Secrets, two kids make their way through a rowdy adult party (think New Year's Eve), and as they pass through each room a girl discloses to a boy a world of strange secrets hidden all around them. "There's a big ol' black dog, lives in the piano." "Miss Horvath is two people." "One of Mr. Vesper's legs is a python."
Eventually the pair find their way to the quietness of the backyard, where they climb a tree and the girl shares a final secret. "You can hear with your eyes. You can find new secrets. But only if you listen... very... close."
Older readers will pick up on the subtext of two kids on their own trying to make sense of the confusing world of adults, but all ages will marvel at the clever drawings exposed beneath the disappearing ink.
The thermal ink does take a fair amount of energetic rubbing to reveal the hidden images, but works like a charm if you utilize a blow dryer, exposing an entire page with a few sweeps of hot air.
Keep Our Secrets by Jordan Crane, $15.95
(Images: Ben Partridge)
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