Soft Opening – The Blacklight Book Full Of Surprises
Colorful, cute, and intricately detailed in daylight, fun & quirky under blacklight!
What is Soft Opening?
An unconventional children's book about Walter, the cuddly wombat and his friendly ensemble that we filled with literally tons of tiny details, hidden references and interesting backstories to engage and entertain kids and grown-ups alike. To make it even more fun, we spiced it with invisible ink and we are sending a UV-flashlight to assist our adult readers in their pursuit for hidden stories that are only visible under blacklight. Are you up for the challenge of finding every single secret hint?
Let us show you why it took almost two years to create Soft Opening by giving you a detailed visual tour of one of our favorite pages: the Ministry of Bureaucracy! Walter's world is not so different from ours – opening a burger joint is no easy task, and not even cute wombats can escape the dreaded red tape. This page is intentionally the only page with grayscale illustrations: colors escaped this office right after joy...
Brainstorming, sketching, drawing on repeat: it took a lot of time and effort to create a multilayered yet coherent universe that can entertain kids and adults at the same time without compromise. The result: an animal fable set in a complex universe where sharply dressed, cute animals try to cope with everyday life, flavored with references to science, cinema, fine arts, and contemporary popular culture just to mention a few. Have you always been curious about the music playing on the pages of a children’s book? Don't look any further: Soft Opening comes with it's own carefully selected soundtrack!
Our protagonist, Walter the chunky wombat wakes up with a rumbling tummy in a strange world where it seems absolutely ordinary that animals wear fancy designer clothes and drive Italian mopeds, and no one raises an eyebrow if a goat runs his off-the-grid veggie business from a camper trailer. After recovering from his first shock, Walter sets out on a journey in search of... a decent burger! His adventure is full of surprises, strange encounters, and important life lessons (for wombats and humans alike). We bet you always wanted to know about the reading preferences of endangered flightless birds, the fashion picks of fluffy red pandas, and whether pelicans are fans of the Tour de France. But let’s stop here, we do not want to give away and spoil the whole story for you!
It was Zsuzsi’s unique illustrated universe, creativity and quirky sense of humour that inspired us to begin the project in the first place. As we are big fans of all things handcrafted, all illustrations were drawn and coloured manually. The end result is a colourful ensemble of irresistibly cute, relatable characters.
It is large format, hardcover, clothbound and printed on special high-bulk paper with fancy hot stamped and embossed details. (We really do have a soft spot for books…)
The blacklight stories.
After a while we realized that we had more to share about Walter’s world than what we can fit into a regular children’s book. Since we were in great need of a tool to expand the story’s horizon, we started experimenting with invisible UV-ink. Finding the right paper and the perfect ink was a painstaking and time-consuming process, but it was really exciting to see this invisible world unfold and add the finishing touches to our narrative. These hidden stories are intended for our older audience, and are only visible under blacklight. They are either surprising explanations or somewhat unorthodox comments that would normally not make it into a conventional storybook. To help you discover these invisible delicacies, we are including a UV-lamp with every single package.
Seriously: who doesn’t like treasure hunts?!
The evil mastermind.
(Un)fortunately, evil masterminds are not part of this story.
To give you a fully immersive experience, we also put together a soundtrack for the book. You can tune into the melodies playing on the pages of Soft Opening by discovering the hidden doodles indicating the corresponding tracks and streaming our playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.
Children’s books play a decisive role in forming our future connection with reading as they are our first point of contact with literature (– a soft opening, if you will).
We believe it’s crucially important to familiarize kids with meaningful stories and books as early as possible. Great books feel like magical objects that connect and resonate with their readers and inspire worthwhile conversations. Moreover, we think that storybooks should be entertaining not only for children, but for adults as well. Our intention was to incorporate all these notions into Soft Opening.