Hat-trick conjures a children’s book with a twist

Hat-trick design has created a charming children’s book, playing on kids’ habit of reading by torchlight under the covers after bedtime.

Hat-trick design has created a charming children’s book, playing on kids’ habit of reading by torchlight under the covers after bedtime.

Hide & Eek! contains 21 hidden illustrations that reveal a spooky added layer to each page when the reader shines a torch behind them. Thus kids can discover the elephant hiding in the closet, for example, the nest of birds hiding in the old man’s bird, or the sea monsters lurking under the water’s surface.

Hat-trick’s Jim Sutherland had the idea with illustrator Rebecca Sutherland a few years ago. “It is a really simple idea, based on those Victorian see-through peep show cards,” says Jim Sutherland, who worked closely with Rebecca on the ideas and illustrations. Those were designed as “simple, strong silhouettes with just enough detail and surprise in them”.

One of the biggest challenges was the production process, as the illustrations are hidden within french-folded and partially glued pages, which needed to be the perfect thickness to conceal the images printed on the inside. “It was very tricky to get right,” says Sutherland. “We tried a lot of different colours and paper weights – we wanted the illustrations inside to be invisible to the naked eye, but to show strongly when lit by torch.”

The book was art directed by Sutherland and Gareth Howat and designed by Sutherland and Laura Bowman, and is published by Californian publisher Knock Knock. It is published in the US this week and launches in the UK in the autumn. And Hat-trick is keen to turn the idea into a series of books, says Sutherland, “Hide & Eek! – Under the Sea, Hide & Eek! in the Jungle…”

For a sneek peek of the book, see also Knock Knock’s teaser film below.


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