My neighbor’s best friend is none other than Robert Sabuda. They went to art school together. We discovered him long before our neighbor moved in across the street. It was at a museum store that my husband could not resist Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs : The Definitive Pop-Up for our dinosaur obsessed three year old son.
Our collection grew to include his shark and mythology pop up books. I think my husband and I enjoyed them as much as our children did. And we kept them in pristine shape by reading them very carefully, savoring each magical pop up. We still have them in a special section of a bookcase where our son takes them out from time to time.
Today, Robert Sabuda is guest posting about his latest endeavor. It sounds really cool. My dinosaur obsessed son is now 11 years old and I think he will love this too.
When people ask me to describe myself, in my profession, I usually stumble a bit. Am I an author or storyteller or illustrator or artist or paper engineer? Fortunately I’d like to think I’m a little of all of the above (which becomes very complicated at tax time).
But “storyteller” seems to cover all the bases since that’s the ultimate goal of my creative work. I want a reader to pick up one of my very non-traditional books and be captivated by the world and characters that live in it.
I’ve always been drawn to unusual formats of storytelling. I remember as a child receiving my very first pop-up book as a gift. I spent hours pouring over not only the words and pictures, but the mechanisms that made the paper world spring to life. I immediately set about making my own first pop-up book (a rather clunky version of the Wizard of Oz in which, to my utter despair, the cyclone did NOT spin) and was hooked from that moment on.
As books and publishing have changed (e-books? app books?) over the last several years, so have I. “A creative mind never rests” has become my motto over the decades and I’m always looking for new ways to tell stories and immerse readers in different worlds. This philosophy is how The Mysterious Cases came to be born.
My love of the book as an object is immense. I need to touch it, feel the weight in my hands, and inhale the scent of promised adventure on its printed pages. As our world shifts more and more to a digital realm I instinctively want to head in the opposite direction. If I pick up an ancient tintype at a street market I wonder what the story is behind that person who faced the camera so long ago. When I read old family letters (my family has been in the USA since the 1630’s) I wonder more about what’s not being said than what is. Life is so full of mystery.
All these thoughts led me, and my creative partners in crime at the newly formed Armchair Detective Company, to develop a fully immersive form of storytelling, The Mysterious Cases. Each case combines the drama and intrigue of a long lost tale, with the puzzle solving marvels of an Escape Room. Part game, part book, and part interactive adventure, each Mysterious Case contains codes to crack, puzzles to solve, letters to snoop, and boxes within boxes to unlock – all leading to the dramatic conclusion of an intriguing mystery. I’ve even designed a mechanical automaton in one of the Cases that will actually draw the final clue (surprise, I’m into automatons!).
We’re raising funds on Indiegogo to bring to life 3 separate interactive stories: the Kidnapped Crossworder, the Druids’ Catacomb, and the Star-Crossed Scientists. You can visit our campaign here:
And apparently we’re not the only fans of this type of immersive storytelling. Within one hour of launching our campaign long-time fan Neal Patrick Harris tweeted: “A locked room book? I’m obsessed: Mysterious Cases contain codes, puzzles, letters, and boxes within boxes! Um, Yes!”
Yes, indeed to the brave new world of storytelling! Onward!
#1 New York Times best-selling children’s book creator Robert Sabuda is a graduate of Pratt Institute in New York City. He’s also been an associate professor at Pratt, where he began a program in Paper Engineering that continues to encourage the next generation of paper artists.
He is a two-time recipient of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award and has over five million books in print translated into 25 languages.
Robert appears regularly on the television programs The Today Show and Good Morning America where he shares his enthusiasm for creativity, children’s book art and literature.
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