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Keep Our Secrets Board book – January 17, 2012

12 customer reviews

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Told in Dr. Seuss’s signature rhyming style, this is a must-have for Seuss fans and book collectors, and a perfect choice for the holidays, birthdays, and happy occasions of all kinds. Hardcover | Kindle book | More for Ages 3-5
$15.95 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Editorial Reviews


"This subversive book from comics artist Crane suggests that strange and sinister truths lurk just beneath the surface of everyday life—and that children are best equipped to suss them out. Multiple hidden objects are concealed by heat-sensitive black ink on each spread, requiring vigorous rubbing to get them to emerge. A girl shares secrets with a boy as she shepherds him through a house where wobbly adult party guests chat, play instruments, and dance on furniture. Spilled cocktails, shoes, and other stray objects are strewn across the floor. 'One of Mr. Vesper’s legs is a python,' the girl explains (rubbing the black ink makes the python appear), and 'the accordion’s got three cats and a handful of forks in it.' It’s all true. There’s a creepy end-of-days feeling to the project, but kids and adults alike should appreciate the underlying message that “you can find new secrets... but only if you listen... very... close.' All ages."
Publisher's Weekly, Children's Review

"Totally worth looking at again and again."
—Very Short List

"Keep Our Secrets Is a magical book.... A blast, not only for the ink gimmick but also because Crane’s illustration style is wonderful. You could read it straight through without vanishing any of the ink and it’s a pretty cute book by itself. All of the hidden images are just the icing on the cake."
—'s GeekDad

"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."
—Apartment Therapy

"I thought it would be hard to impress my [eight-year-old] son with the Keep Our Secrets board book... Oh, how I was wrong... it’s definitely a book I’ll be gifting to new parents."
—Alphamom’s "Must List"

“During our first read of Keep Our Secrets, the number of times 'This is so cool' was uttered easily outnumbered the pages of this inventive board book... the effect is downright magical."
—Takes a Village

“While e-books may be turning all of our favorite childhood stories into animated pictures and text, the analog book is making a comeback [with] Keep Our Secrets."
—A New Day's Work

“[A] whimsical, unique book. Hidden behind the fun of discovering secret pictures is a lesson about careful observation and an absurdist commentary on the difference between outward appearance and innermost realities.”
—Buffalo News

"Keep Our Secrets by Jordan Crane, a printed book that incorporates a very cool technology.[An] amazing little book.”
—Yummy Mummy

“New from McSweeney’s/McMullen’s comes a board book like no other, I guarantee it. Keep Our Secrets (to be read in a whisper) by Jordan Crane will be heralded by children everywhere as a ‘magical’ book.

"The novelty of this book has obvious kid-appeal but add to that the fun illustrations and you’ll have kids wanting to uncover the secrets over and over again."

A recommendation for parents on Media Darlings!

Featured on Daily Candy!

Praise for The Clouds Above:
"Crane’s drawings are clean, yet full of nuance; his writing is playful and sharp. The artistry is in the detail." — The New Yorker

About the Author

Jordan Crane publishes both his own and other people’s comics through his press, Red Ink. He edited and designed the ambitious anthology NON (which won several AIGA 365 awards), and publishes his semi-regular solo comic Uptight through Fantagraphics. Crane currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 4
  • Board book: 32 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney's McMullens; Brdbk edition (January 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936365529
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936365524
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 6.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Dustin L. Dopps on January 18, 2012
Format: Board book Verified Purchase
UPDATED INFO: When I posted this review, there were ZERO reviews for this product. But after my negative review, two glowing reviews suddenly appeared, saying how wonderful it works. Neither of these reviews are "verified" by Amazon, which means the people who wrote them didn't purchase the book from here - they just happened to coincidentally stumble upon my review within hours of each other (and within hours of my first review). Not only that, but also magically, these two reviews have been marked as "helpful" while my Amazon-verified, honest review has been marked as unhelpful twice.

If you believe in coincidence, ignore my review. But in my opinion, something is hinky here and it ain't me. THIS BOOK DOES NOT WORK AS INTENDED.


I saw a YouTube video back in July 2011 showing how this book works. The idea is great: anywhere in the book where there is black, you rub on it and the heat from your fingers makes the black ink translucent, letting you see the picture behind it. So, for example, you might see a man in a black trench coat, but when you rub on the coat you see that it is actually two "little people" - one standing on the other's shoulders.

Even though I knew it would take a long time to receive the book (it took about six months), I was willing to wait because I thought my kids would love it.

Unfortunately, the book doesn't work. You can only make the black ink turn clear after vigorously rubbing for a long time. By the time you get one portion of the picture visible, parts you have already rubbed have turned back to black. I let two of my kids try the book: a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old and neither of them could get the heat-sensitive ink to work, no matter how much they rubbed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Vince Mennella on July 20, 2013
Format: Board book Verified Purchase
After experiencing some of what the other reviews have said and not wanting to use a hairdryer every time we want to experience this great book, we have found another trick. Look for a Pilot FriXion Eraser - Pink here on Amazon, you can rub the book with this eraser which generates enough heat to show the surprises easily. and will not damage the book. This is great for on the road where a hairdryer is unavailable. The publishers should look to include this with their book somehow. Once we discovered this trick the book has been really great for my boys.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 9, 2012
Format: Board book
I bought this board book for my 4 yr old from a museum in DC, so I was able to see how much rubbing was involved to get the pictures to disappear prior to bringing it home. Now, my 4 yr old HATES loud noises, but nothing, not even the dreaded hair dryer keeps her from this book. She will have us go through and make all the pictures appear, and upon the suggestion of her grandmother, place the book in the fridge to make the pictures go dark again quickly. Repeat about 3-4 times. She absolutely goes bananas over this book.

One thing I have noticed is that after you go through the book with a hair drier and allow the pictures to go dark (at room temp) it's very easy to go back through and rub the ink to make the pictures appear. So for those that are not crazy about using a hair drier with their kids, this might be a passable work around.

Concept is still cool, hence the 4 stars.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mickey Kataria on February 4, 2012
Format: Board book
I ordered two copies of this book directly from the publisher (and paid the premium price) to get them in time for xmas. I was excited by the concept and the video made it look like a real fun present for kids. When the books arrived, I was surprised to see the sticker on the front recommending a hair dryer to get the best results. Really? You want me to bring out a hair dryer to read the book that you advertised and showed in a video without a hair dryer? Still, I was hopeful and gave the books a try. Unfortunately, the recommendation held true. While I could get the ink to disappear, it required some vigorous rubbing. There was no way that the 4 and 5 year olds receiving the book would be able to do this and that's what I saw first hand. So buyers beware. Pick this up if you're OK with using a hair dryer to read it or if you're comfortable handing a hair dryer to a young child. For us, it was a wasted xmas present for two kids.
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Format: Board book
This is a really cool book. My preschooler absolutely LOVES this book. In addition, it's got some intrigue that makes repeated readings fun. You've probably read the 1 star reviews on here about functionality... maybe it's dependent on the pressing, but the copy I purchased (used at a second-hand shop that does not specialize in books) functions *perfectly*. There's a sticker on the front that states plainly that the book works best read with a blow-dryer. Ok. Admittedly it's kind of strange to read a book with a blowdryer in hand, but it's a novel experience and the black images melting away to reveal the dark and strange secrets of the world lurking underneath. They shouldn't have said that you can rub the ink with your thumb, and maybe it works better that way in warm weather, but with a blow-dryer this book is aces. The most unusual children's book I've seen. I love it!
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By Ginya on March 25, 2015
Format: Board book
Kind of a pain to use a hairdryer but it was a good way to make my son less scared of hairdryers. It's such a cool, odd book and I love all the imaginative and intricate details- especially the squirrel's house. It's one to read every once in a while (because of the hair dryer part) but it's so neat.
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