Thursday, December 29, 2011

Books We Love: “Keep Our Secrets” by Jordan Crane

Book Review by Maggie Hames
Keep Our Secrets is both a high- and a low-tech wonder. Utilizing the new technology of thermographics, the book’s illustrations are heat-sensitive. Black portions, when rubbed with your fingers or warmed with a blowdryer, reveal full-color illustrations underneath. As a child would see it, the book can conceal and reveal secrets. On the low end of the techno-scale, this book demands to be held (warmly) by the reader. There is no e-book equivalent to this. I’d even call it the anti-e-book. It’s a precious object that needs to be handled to be appreciated. It’s a magical book of wonders.

McMullen’s, a relatively new imprint of the McSweeney’s publishing house, publishes it. McSweeney’s has always been associated with beautifully, even lavishly produced books and periodicals. It would seem that McMullen’s will continue this tradition.

Comics artist Jordan Crane has created an adorable book. You may know him from his previous children’s book, The Clouds Above. In Keep Our Secrets, two children investigate various noises in their house. Big sister instructs little brother that some noises have reasonable explanations; others less so. Crane’s illustrations are cleverly detailed and his witty writing possesses a deep understanding of a child’s world. Crane demonstrates the color-changing ink in this video:

Kids are sure to enjoy sharing this book with their grown-ups, if for no other reason then they need us to run the blowdryers. This book’s for them, not us, the secrets revealed by rubbing Aladdin’s lamp. The world is an amazing place, after all. The book is available for pre-order at Amazon. Jump on it. 

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