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The Eleventh Hour

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When Horace the elephant turns eleven, he celebrates in style by inviting his exotic friends to a splendid costume party. But a mystery is afoot, for in the midst of the games, music, and revelry, someone has eaten the birthday feast. The rhyming text and lavish, detailed illustrations each provide clues, and it's up to the reader to piece them together and decide whodunit When Horace the elephant turns eleven, he celebrates in style by inviting his exotic friends to a splendid costume party. But a mystery is afoot, for in the midst of the games, music, and revelry, someone has eaten the birthday feast. The rhyming text and lavish, detailed illustrations each provide clues, and it's up to the reader to piece them together and decide whodunit! "The fun of poring over the pictures is matched by the enjoyment derived from the textwitty, ingenious verses." -- Publishers Weekly Graeme Base is the author of many award-winning books for children, including Animalia (Puffin), The Sign of the Seahorse, and most recently, The Discovery of Dragons.


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When Horace the elephant turns eleven, he celebrates in style by inviting his exotic friends to a splendid costume party. But a mystery is afoot, for in the midst of the games, music, and revelry, someone has eaten the birthday feast. The rhyming text and lavish, detailed illustrations each provide clues, and it's up to the reader to piece them together and decide whodunit When Horace the elephant turns eleven, he celebrates in style by inviting his exotic friends to a splendid costume party. But a mystery is afoot, for in the midst of the games, music, and revelry, someone has eaten the birthday feast. The rhyming text and lavish, detailed illustrations each provide clues, and it's up to the reader to piece them together and decide whodunit! "The fun of poring over the pictures is matched by the enjoyment derived from the textwitty, ingenious verses." -- Publishers Weekly Graeme Base is the author of many award-winning books for children, including Animalia (Puffin), The Sign of the Seahorse, and most recently, The Discovery of Dragons.

30 review for The Eleventh Hour

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    Don your favorite costume and join Horace the elephant in celebration of his eleventh birthday. Bring your magnifying glass and your suspicion too, for a mystery awaits in The Eleventh Hour. Graeme Base's curious tale of a birthday party gone awry is a visual treat. Eleven animals arrive for Horace's party, all bedecked in costume: The Pig came as an Admiral, the Zebra as a Punk. The Rhino was an Astronaut, his spacesuit made of junk. The Swan arrived as Princess Pure, a most enchanting sight. Be Don your favorite costume and join Horace the elephant in celebration of his eleventh birthday. Bring your magnifying glass and your suspicion too, for a mystery awaits in The Eleventh Hour. Graeme Base's curious tale of a birthday party gone awry is a visual treat. Eleven animals arrive for Horace's party, all bedecked in costume: The Pig came as an Admiral, the Zebra as a Punk. The Rhino was an Astronaut, his spacesuit made of junk. The Swan arrived as Princess Pure, a most enchanting sight. Bejewelled with rows of precious stones and dressed in purest white. Horace has a sweet pad, no doubt about it. The colorful, crowded illustrations depicting the various rooms of his house pay tribute to architecture found in Rome, Egypt, Asia, Africa and more. A glorious array of delectable treats await in the medieval banquet hall: For there upon the table was The feast That Horace Made, A wondrous spread of cakes and buns and jugs of lemonade. And in its midst a Centerpiece of Grand Design was placed, That left no doubt young Horace had superb artistic taste. Before the eleventh hour strikes, a hideous crime occurs. It's up to the reader to puzzle out the clues and solve the mystery. Secret clues, along with a hidden message, can be found on every page -- some are obvious, while others require keen eyes and intellect. For those who wish to solve the mystery themselves, much detective work awaits. And for readers who can't handle not knowing whodunit, a useful answer key can be found in the back of the book with these words from the author: The getting of wisdom is no match for the thrill of the chase, and those who choose the longer road shall reap their reward!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Calista

    Blown Away! FANTASTIC! The whole family got in on this mystery. It really is a mystery too. I thought it was simply a story and it is and there is a mystery. The answer is sealed at the back of the book and we have not broken the seal yet to see the culprit. I didn't have time to go through the book to see who did it. There are clues, supposedly hidden on each page so it takes time. The kids are going to scour the pages today and see if they can figure it out. Even their parents are getting invo Blown Away! FANTASTIC! The whole family got in on this mystery. It really is a mystery too. I thought it was simply a story and it is and there is a mystery. The answer is sealed at the back of the book and we have not broken the seal yet to see the culprit. I didn't have time to go through the book to see who did it. There are clues, supposedly hidden on each page so it takes time. The kids are going to scour the pages today and see if they can figure it out. Even their parents are getting involved. The art is beautiful. It is magnificent. Graeme uses a border like Jan Brett does and there are clues in it. I have read their are red herrings all over the place. I think the 7 year old might crack the case. The artwork is a Baroque feast for the eyes with eleven animals invited to a birthday party where the birthday boy made this huge feast that they can't eat until the 11th hour. Well, they play all kinds of games and by the time dinner come, someone ate all the food. Who did it? We don't know. Anyone who wants to spoil me, I welcome the answer. I am in finals and don't have time to figure it out. I won't tell the kids. They can figure it out on their own. How come I've never heard of Graeme Base? The artist is amazing. I want to read MORE! One of my new favorites.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    In their dotage the Offspring will still be talking about their crazy mom having a signed first of this that she would read to them, but wouldn't let them touch until they washed their hands. In their dotage the Offspring will still be talking about their crazy mom having a signed first of this that she would read to them, but wouldn't let them touch until they washed their hands.

  4. 4 out of 5

    midnightfaerie

    One of the most amazing illustrations I've ever seen in children's books. Can't believe I've never heard of Base before now. The pictures are so detailed and there are hundreds of things going on in them, you could just look for hours. In this case, there's a mystery to be solved and some really fun clues to be looking for in the pictures. Not easy enough of a mystery for a small child, but just tough enough for my 1st grader, and it kept me interested too! The clues are hidden in the pictures a One of the most amazing illustrations I've ever seen in children's books. Can't believe I've never heard of Base before now. The pictures are so detailed and there are hundreds of things going on in them, you could just look for hours. In this case, there's a mystery to be solved and some really fun clues to be looking for in the pictures. Not easy enough of a mystery for a small child, but just tough enough for my 1st grader, and it kept me interested too! The clues are hidden in the pictures and many deal with letters and words. Lots of fun and a book we'll go back to over and over again.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Adam Floridia

    The other day, my son brought this home from my parents' house. I remembered it as one of my favorite children's books--and it didn't disappoint. This who-dunnit mystery is teeming with hidden puzzles, many of which I couldn't even solve today (morse code, musical notes, and more). I had so much fun re-"reading" (more like "puzzling over") this that I ordered seven more of Base's books--ostensibly for my kids. The other day, my son brought this home from my parents' house. I remembered it as one of my favorite children's books--and it didn't disappoint. This who-dunnit mystery is teeming with hidden puzzles, many of which I couldn't even solve today (morse code, musical notes, and more). I had so much fun re-"reading" (more like "puzzling over") this that I ordered seven more of Base's books--ostensibly for my kids.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dramapuppy

    I usually don't review picture books, but this is the most author-indulgent thing I've ever read. Every page is indeed covered with challenging codes and clues, but 98% of them are either useless or actively misleading. Some of them are just inside jokes the author wanted to include. A lot of them literally say "red herring." That doesn't motivate me to find more clues. Finding the clues is seriously the least efficient way you can solve this mystery. I did figure out who did it, but I didn't use I usually don't review picture books, but this is the most author-indulgent thing I've ever read. Every page is indeed covered with challenging codes and clues, but 98% of them are either useless or actively misleading. Some of them are just inside jokes the author wanted to include. A lot of them literally say "red herring." That doesn't motivate me to find more clues. Finding the clues is seriously the least efficient way you can solve this mystery. I did figure out who did it, but I didn't use the clues once, and I regretted bothering with them at all. It feels like I'm supposed to admire the sheer amount of clues there were instead of considering their actual (lack of) utility. Plus, I was really bored the whole time. It's hard to make a picture book so boring with so few pages, but this one managed. There is no story. It's just about this elephant's party, which is as needlessly elaborate as this book; and the stakes for the mystery for ridiculously low. You're not even helping the innocent animals solve the little mystery because the clues aren't part of the plot. Finding the culprit doesn't impact the story in any way. Your only reward is pages upon pages of pictureless explanation of every one of the dozens of pointless clues hidden in the book. It was so incredibly pedantic, I wanted to stop reading. It would spend an entire paragraph proudly explaining how, if you look closely, the wall says "tick tock." :O How does that help me??? It doesn't!!! I'm just supposed to marvel at the fact that it's there. There are other interactive mystery books for kids. Read one of them instead.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    Here is a story about Horace's (an elephant) eleventh birthday party, and apparently there's a mystery to solve! The mystery isn't revealed until near the end, and the book definitely requires that you look back through it to solve the mystery. Overall, mystery hunting aside, I enjoyed this book, the fun characters, and the whimsical, jam-packed illustrations! For a rhyming book, the rhymes were really pretty good! I didn't find myself tripping over the rhythm or words hardly at all! For the mys Here is a story about Horace's (an elephant) eleventh birthday party, and apparently there's a mystery to solve! The mystery isn't revealed until near the end, and the book definitely requires that you look back through it to solve the mystery. Overall, mystery hunting aside, I enjoyed this book, the fun characters, and the whimsical, jam-packed illustrations! For a rhyming book, the rhymes were really pretty good! I didn't find myself tripping over the rhythm or words hardly at all! For the mystery, well, I didn't read the entirety of the solutions, but I skimmed to figure out how the puzzles where to be solved. My only gripe was that the end note made it appear that the mystery would be easily solved by looking at the pictures, which led me to think a simple glance back through would suffice. But, for better or worse, such is not the case. These clues are definitely only going to be found by those willing to spend several hours searching and decoding, something which I probably would have loved at around 10 to my tweens. There's bound to be several hours worth of fun, but only for those who don't mind the tediousness required. But, knowing how all the clues worked into the story, I was even more impressed with the illustrations! So, definitely a fun, creative book/hidden clues mystery! And if you like that sort of book, I think you'll love this!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Allie

    I LOVE THIS BOOK. I did a program based in it for tweens last year and it was amazing (albeit sparsely attended, but it's a tween program so any attendance is great!). Any time any person expresses any interest in puzzles (coworkers, kids, parents, strangers) I leap up and offer them this book. I love introducing kids to anagrams and pigpen ciphers, because I distinctly remember my elementary school library helping me as I pored over this book as a weird 5th grader. I had so much fun! I LOVE THIS BOOK. I did a program based in it for tweens last year and it was amazing (albeit sparsely attended, but it's a tween program so any attendance is great!). Any time any person expresses any interest in puzzles (coworkers, kids, parents, strangers) I leap up and offer them this book. I love introducing kids to anagrams and pigpen ciphers, because I distinctly remember my elementary school library helping me as I pored over this book as a weird 5th grader. I had so much fun!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Adele

    The story was not particularly interesting or satisfying, but of course the story isn't really the point of this book. The point is all the puzzles and "clues" hidden in the pictures. Unfortunately, in the effort to put "oh, so many!" things to find in the pictures, really very few (or even none) of them must be solved to figure out the mystery. And many of the hidden messages actually say "red herring" or don't say that but don't provide much helpful information anyway (Watch the clocks! once m The story was not particularly interesting or satisfying, but of course the story isn't really the point of this book. The point is all the puzzles and "clues" hidden in the pictures. Unfortunately, in the effort to put "oh, so many!" things to find in the pictures, really very few (or even none) of them must be solved to figure out the mystery. And many of the hidden messages actually say "red herring" or don't say that but don't provide much helpful information anyway (Watch the clocks! once maybe but the third or fourth time I find that I'm just annoyed). I read this with my daughter and we found some of the hidden messages and we did figure out who stole the feast, though mostly through decryption rather than picture searching. Then we read the explanation which had far more words than the story itself and were like, "okay". Hence my two star rating.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    One of my very favorite books as an older child - my sisters and I poured over this book for weeks.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Luann

    Wow, what a book! I had read this before, but that time I didn't make the effort to look for clues, solve the mystery, or even read the solution. I always planned to come back and spend more time with this book, so I'm glad I finally did! This time I read the book, looked for clues, deciphered many of the hidden messages, and solved the mystery before ever reading through the solution pages! And wow, the solution pages pointed out many clues I hadn't even noticed. Although some of those clues ar Wow, what a book! I had read this before, but that time I didn't make the effort to look for clues, solve the mystery, or even read the solution. I always planned to come back and spend more time with this book, so I'm glad I finally did! This time I read the book, looked for clues, deciphered many of the hidden messages, and solved the mystery before ever reading through the solution pages! And wow, the solution pages pointed out many clues I hadn't even noticed. Although some of those clues are red herrings, so I was glad I hadn't taken time with them! If you like cracking codes, noticing minute details, and solving mysteries, you will enjoy this book. The story can be enjoyed on the surface level just by reading through the rhyming text and looking at the fun, very detailed illustrations - except you won't know WHO the thief was without digging a little deeper!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

    Ok this may be the coolest kids book ever, if you have a smart kid who likes puzzles or codes. It took us two or three HOURS to solve the book. It was so exciting that we did it in one sitting, working like mad. It is that absorbing. He did solve it, but we had to resort to a hint off the internet to find the swan's name. I'd say a smart 8 year old and up can do it, maybe with some help. Besides being super fun, the book is also lovely. My kid is now enjoying looking back at the amazing illustra Ok this may be the coolest kids book ever, if you have a smart kid who likes puzzles or codes. It took us two or three HOURS to solve the book. It was so exciting that we did it in one sitting, working like mad. It is that absorbing. He did solve it, but we had to resort to a hint off the internet to find the swan's name. I'd say a smart 8 year old and up can do it, maybe with some help. Besides being super fun, the book is also lovely. My kid is now enjoying looking back at the amazing illustrations. Sort of like a daVinci code for kids, except this book was way better than that. I'm buying a bunch of these to give out as birthday gifts to the kids in my life.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jaksen

    This was a gift for my then, twenty-year old daughter. She loved it. One of her favorites. Who says all kids books have to be read to, or bought for kids? :D

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Eggen

    Horace the Elephant is planning a spectacular party for his 11th birthday. He plans all sorts of games and events, such as pool, chess, and tennis. The most important part of the party, however, is the giant feast that he promises to feed his guests on the 11th hour. Once the time to feast arrives, all of the food is gone! Every guest denies stealing the food, but someone has to be lying. Who could commit such an atrocious act? This book is unnecessarily long, meaning that about half of the pages Horace the Elephant is planning a spectacular party for his 11th birthday. He plans all sorts of games and events, such as pool, chess, and tennis. The most important part of the party, however, is the giant feast that he promises to feed his guests on the 11th hour. Once the time to feast arrives, all of the food is gone! Every guest denies stealing the food, but someone has to be lying. Who could commit such an atrocious act? This book is unnecessarily long, meaning that about half of the pages had nothing to do with the actual plot. It gets boring up until the crime is committed. The one thing this mystery book lacks is the suspenseful element that keeps readers interested. Instead, the book does not discuss the actual mystery until the very end, and then it cuts off and leaves the reader guessing at who is the culprit. However, in the very back of the book there is a note that when correctly deciphered, tells who did the crime. Also, there are pages sealed together by a sticker that hold the answer to the mystery. This interactive investigative work is a fun alternative to the typical way a mystery is solved since it allows kids to become investigators, which could be fun for kids who love mystery books. There is a red herring, the cat, which throws the reader off and leaves them stumped. The illustrations in this book are phenomenal. They are draw with such detail that it seems incredible real, especially the characters' eyes. Every illustration has a lot of detail and color/patterns so that the answer to the mystery isn't obvious since it is hidden in the drawings. Overall, this book would be excellent if it were shorter.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    In this "curious mystery" by Graeme Base, author of Animalia, Horace Elephant invites 11 friends to his eleventh birthday party. After a great deal of elaborate preparation, games, and sport, the awesome feast prepared by Horace is stolen! Which guest was responsible for this heinous crime? The brilliantly embedded clues and breathtaking illustrations contribute to the clever rhyming tale in this modern masterpiece. No elementary school classroom or personal library is complete without The Elevent In this "curious mystery" by Graeme Base, author of Animalia, Horace Elephant invites 11 friends to his eleventh birthday party. After a great deal of elaborate preparation, games, and sport, the awesome feast prepared by Horace is stolen! Which guest was responsible for this heinous crime? The brilliantly embedded clues and breathtaking illustrations contribute to the clever rhyming tale in this modern masterpiece. No elementary school classroom or personal library is complete without The Eleventh Hour. This intricately constructed mystery is supported by magnificent illustrations, clues in borders, and gratefully, by detailed author's notes in the back of the book that help young sleuths (and adults) locate the brilliantly conceived clues. The whimsical illustrations are so impeccably detailed that even young primary students may be able to infer the storyline of the mystery, but the sophisticated vocabulary and invitation to engage in "observation and deduction" will prove challenging for older students and adults as well. The various explanations of the clues and solution to the mystery are contained in a sealed section at the end of the book called "The Inside Story" so the urge to cheat is foiled by the clever "packaging." There is also a cryptic section entitled "Notes for Detectives" that invites the reader to crack a code. This book would be an outstanding addition to a mystery genre unit in elementary grades or middle school. It is to the I Spy books what Caviar is to Cheetoes.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    My mom bought this book for my sisters and I after the illustrations caught her eye in a local bookstore. She brought it home, and we had a lot of fun reading it together, pouring over the beautiful illustrations, and trying to decipher the mystery. When Horace the elephant turns 11 he throws himself an elaborate birthday party, and invites all of his other animal friends to join in the fun. There are games, costumes, and of course an elaborate feast that Horace himself had prepared. Unfortunatel My mom bought this book for my sisters and I after the illustrations caught her eye in a local bookstore. She brought it home, and we had a lot of fun reading it together, pouring over the beautiful illustrations, and trying to decipher the mystery. When Horace the elephant turns 11 he throws himself an elaborate birthday party, and invites all of his other animal friends to join in the fun. There are games, costumes, and of course an elaborate feast that Horace himself had prepared. Unfortunately, as the 11th hour draws near, the guests are disappointed to learn that the feast has already been eaten. Through a series of clues, the reader is left to discover who stole the feast. Author/illustrator Graeme Base pulls out all the stops in this book, which is full of mysterious clues, scrambled sentences, riddles, and hidden characters cleverly placed in the beautiful art. Hands-down one of my all-time favorite books for kids.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This is a good mystery story for older young kids. My niece and I read it together, and we enjoyed the story. I pre-read the book before I read it with her, and I admit, I had to "cheat" and look at the key in the back of the book to discover the answer to the mystery. I don't think that the clues presented themselves very readily, and that's a good thing in a mystery. If this were an adult mystery, I'd think it was great! In a *children's* mystery story, however, maybe a few *slightly* more obv This is a good mystery story for older young kids. My niece and I read it together, and we enjoyed the story. I pre-read the book before I read it with her, and I admit, I had to "cheat" and look at the key in the back of the book to discover the answer to the mystery. I don't think that the clues presented themselves very readily, and that's a good thing in a mystery. If this were an adult mystery, I'd think it was great! In a *children's* mystery story, however, maybe a few *slightly* more obvious clues would have been good--I'm not saying the challenge should have been removed, but an easier bone every now and then would have been welcome. In short, my niece enjoyed the book, but I know she would not have found any of the clues on her own. Beautiful illustrations (of course), and as another reviewer mentioned, the rhyming text was outstandingly well done! The illustrations and well-crafted text raises this from a three star to a four star for me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Rawden

    This book is great for kids who are into mysteries, clues, and decoding. Even better, this is great for kids who are into awesome illustrations. Even better, even better, this poem features some pretty sweetly rhyming pages. I was shocked. I owned Animalia as a kid, but didn't realize Graeme Base could be a pretty good writer! Secret aside for parents: If your child is not a decoder, figure out the mystery ahead of time, or look it up on the Internet. Luckily, the "help" pages are now taped toge This book is great for kids who are into mysteries, clues, and decoding. Even better, this is great for kids who are into awesome illustrations. Even better, even better, this poem features some pretty sweetly rhyming pages. I was shocked. I owned Animalia as a kid, but didn't realize Graeme Base could be a pretty good writer! Secret aside for parents: If your child is not a decoder, figure out the mystery ahead of time, or look it up on the Internet. Luckily, the "help" pages are now taped together in the back of the book rather than having to send a mail order off for them, but even so. Your kids interests will dwindle once there is no new artwork if they aren't into mysteries. For ages 10-14. I know this might be a hard sell because it is a picture book, but I have trouble believing younger kids could really understand the book, even if they enjoy the pictures.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Juli Anna

    My husband grew up with this book and, although I loved Animalia as a kid, this book was not in my collection. The two of us spent a couple of nights over the Thanksgiving break working out this mystery--what a fun way to pass an evening! The mystery here is simple enough for an older child to figure out with a little parental guidance, but the clues in code are quite difficult. There are so many beautiful and funny details hidden in the illustrations, and the whole concept is extremely well car My husband grew up with this book and, although I loved Animalia as a kid, this book was not in my collection. The two of us spent a couple of nights over the Thanksgiving break working out this mystery--what a fun way to pass an evening! The mystery here is simple enough for an older child to figure out with a little parental guidance, but the clues in code are quite difficult. There are so many beautiful and funny details hidden in the illustrations, and the whole concept is extremely well carried out.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    Australian picture-book author/artist Graeme Base delivers a masterpiece with The Eleventh Hour, one sure to provide curious young children with hours of entertainment! The rhyming text tells the tale of Horace the elephant, who invites ten guests to celebrate his eleventh birthday with him. Everything from the feast to the games is meticulously planned, but when it comes time to eat, the animal companions are shocked to discover that someone has stolen the sumptuous banquet prepared for them. W Australian picture-book author/artist Graeme Base delivers a masterpiece with The Eleventh Hour, one sure to provide curious young children with hours of entertainment! The rhyming text tells the tale of Horace the elephant, who invites ten guests to celebrate his eleventh birthday with him. Everything from the feast to the games is meticulously planned, but when it comes time to eat, the animal companions are shocked to discover that someone has stolen the sumptuous banquet prepared for them. Who could it be...? Originally published in 1988, The Eleventh Hour is a picture-book mystery extraordinaire, one that contains more puzzles and codes than the average reader will know what to do with. This book really is extraordinarily detailed, both in terms of the gorgeous color artwork itself, and in terms of all of the clues, red herrings and codes - musical, visual, textual - worked into each page. I was able to solve the mystery of who stole the feast, both by consulting the 'hide-and-seek' page - I reasoned that it was one of the few pictures that depicted both indoor and outdoor scenes at the same time, and contained (almost!) all the characters - and by thinking about the various denials offered by the animal guests, when the theft was discovered. Once I made my deduction, I used the guilty party's name to decode the secret message on the final page, and discovered I was correct. All that said, I used only a TINY fraction of the clues available to the reader, as I discovered when I read through the (hitherto sealed) section at the rear, which outlines all the codes and hints worked into each page. Needless to say, I also missed all of (view spoiler)[Kilroy's mouse relatives (hide spoiler)] , whose presence is well hidden! This truly is a book that rewards reading and rereading, and even once the main mystery is solved, there are so many more details to be pondered, codes to be broken, and minor mysteries to be solved, that the reader will enjoy revisiting its pages. Because of the detail, I would recommend this one to a slightly older-than-usual picture-book audience, especially one that enjoys puzzles!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maelin Long

    The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base is a wonderful mystery picture book for children. When Horace, the elephant turns eleven he plans a grand affair. Friends are invited, party games are chosen and a beautiful birthday feast is made. The day of the party arrives and all of his friends show up in their best costumes. Throughout the day, they all play the different games waiting for the eleventh hour when they can finally devour the feast. To their horror, the eleventh hour comes and the feast is gon The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base is a wonderful mystery picture book for children. When Horace, the elephant turns eleven he plans a grand affair. Friends are invited, party games are chosen and a beautiful birthday feast is made. The day of the party arrives and all of his friends show up in their best costumes. Throughout the day, they all play the different games waiting for the eleventh hour when they can finally devour the feast. To their horror, the eleventh hour comes and the feast is gone. One of the guest is a thief! Can they figure out who did it? As adults we think of mystery books being chapter books. There are a lot of details that go into writing these books which sometimes means a longer book. But that is not always the case. The Eleventh Hour is a picture book that younger readers can understand and enjoy. The detailed pictures tell the story very well along with the text. They are colorful, full-spread illustrations that help with solving the case presented in the story. Without these hints, the mystery would be very difficult to solve. With rhyming and music like words, the storyline keeps children’s attention. The use of animals also makes it even more fun and engaging. Kids can imagine this event actually taking place in their imagination. It’s something that they could come up with. These elements make this book very high quality. To be considered under the mystery genre, stories must have some characteristics. The Eleventh Hour has these mystery elements. One of these is the feeling of suspense and surprise. There is definitely surprise when the characters find the feast gone. They had been waiting all day for this banquet and it all comes crashing down in a second. Then comes the suspense of who the thief is. With each new excuse from the characters, the suspense really builds. It seems that none of them did it, but that’s impossible. Another element of mystery is foreshadowing. Throughout The Eleventh Hour, there was simple foreshadowing. First with each new game. As the day continued, there was new game after new game. This makes the reader feel as if it is building up to something important because of the length of time that has gone by. The theft is also foreshadowed by how the characters are portrayed. At every game, there was someone who was called out on cheating. It was leaving doubt within the readers’ mind of the integrity of characters. This led up to the climax of the mystery. One other element that this story has is the “puzzle” element and idea gaps. After the story ends, there is still no conclusion on who stole the feast. This allows for the readers to fill in their own ideas to the story and solve the puzzle. By going back through the book, they can deduce who the real thief was. As a children’s mystery, The Eleventh Hour is a great choice. It has many elements that make a wonderful puzzle for children to solve. With quality pictures and a quality story, this story can be classified as a high quality children’s book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ruby Tovar

    I actually read this book for the first time while completing the genre presentation with my group. I have to say, that I was really surprised. When I initially flipped through it, I saw all the colorful illustrations and the all the busy pages and was really intrigued. Finding a picture book in the mystery genre is truly difficult, and I'm really impressed with all the details throughout the book as well as the diverse backgrounds and style employed. I really liked how at the end, it turns out I actually read this book for the first time while completing the genre presentation with my group. I have to say, that I was really surprised. When I initially flipped through it, I saw all the colorful illustrations and the all the busy pages and was really intrigued. Finding a picture book in the mystery genre is truly difficult, and I'm really impressed with all the details throughout the book as well as the diverse backgrounds and style employed. I really liked how at the end, it turns out to be the mouse who ate the dinner (along with some friends of course). This as demonstrated by the careful placing of mice in the busy illustrations to hint the reader. Of course the "red herring" here being the size of the mouse and everyone suspecting that whoever ate the dinner must have been very big. Overall, I am totally in love with this book. The word choice was spectacular and incredibly fun. This would be fantastic for elementary or middle school age kids. The thematic was also appropriate for this age group. I like how the clues were presented to the reader in a not so obvious way, and the plot twist at the end (once the solution is presented of course). I also found a lot of enjoyment in the illustrations as mentioned above. They are very busy in order to conceal the details to solve the mystery but were very engaging and the colors really seemed to burst off the pages. The style and text were perfectly in line. Entertainment value aside, this was a fun and interesting read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    WhiteHeather

    I fondly remember the hours of fun I had figuring out the puzzles in this book with my mother when I was in 5th grade or so. Like all of Graeme Base's books, the illustrations in this story are superb. They are full of amazing details that can't all be noticed in just one read through. The story is fun, with a clever rhyme scheme. The puzzles are challenging and it will take a lot of time even for very clever children to figure them out and they may need some help from a friendly adult! I rememb I fondly remember the hours of fun I had figuring out the puzzles in this book with my mother when I was in 5th grade or so. Like all of Graeme Base's books, the illustrations in this story are superb. They are full of amazing details that can't all be noticed in just one read through. The story is fun, with a clever rhyme scheme. The puzzles are challenging and it will take a lot of time even for very clever children to figure them out and they may need some help from a friendly adult! I remember being very proud to have figured out the thief without ever cracking open the solution at the end. However, if you do need some help, the solution is there and even if you figure out the answer, take a peak at the solution and see what clever riddles you may have overlooked. You don't necessarily need to solve every puzzle to get the answer in the end. Even without the clever puzzles this book would be a winner for the illustrations. The hours of fun that the puzzles provide just push it over the top. I'd recommend this for any children in the later grades of elementary school, but even younger children will still enjoy the illustrations and the story even if they may not be able to solve all the puzzles without a lot of help.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mary Pease

    "The Eleventh Hour" by Graeme Base is about an elephant named Horace. Horace is having an extravagant birthday party. He invites all of his friends and each one comes in a costume. Throughout the story they play games. There's a feast, but towards the end the food disappears! Horace isn't saddened though because he reappears with sandwiches and his humungo surprise birthday cake. The genre of this text is mystery. The lexile number is 1070. The author has won numerous awards: Children's Book C "The Eleventh Hour" by Graeme Base is about an elephant named Horace. Horace is having an extravagant birthday party. He invites all of his friends and each one comes in a costume. Throughout the story they play games. There's a feast, but towards the end the food disappears! Horace isn't saddened though because he reappears with sandwiches and his humungo surprise birthday cake. The genre of this text is mystery. The lexile number is 1070. The author has won numerous awards: Children's Book Council of Australia Award for Picture Book of the Year--Joint Winner (1989), Canberra's Own Outstanding List (COOL) Awards for Section 2 Fiction for Younger Readers (1994), Young Australians' Best Book Award (YABBA) for Section1-Picture Storybook (1989). "The Eleventh Hour" is a great companion to "Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer" by John Grisham. Both books are mysteries. The reader has to look between the lines at the evidence and clues that are strewn throughout the text. Both mysteries occur when the characters least expect it. Both are great reads!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Becky B

    A combination mystery and picture book in rhyme. It is extremely rare to find such a skilled and creative illustrator/poet that makes children's books. I remember working on solving all the different puzzles hidden in this book with my siblings when we were young. It took us quite a while, but we felt very accomplished when we figured them out. A combination mystery and picture book in rhyme. It is extremely rare to find such a skilled and creative illustrator/poet that makes children's books. I remember working on solving all the different puzzles hidden in this book with my siblings when we were young. It took us quite a while, but we felt very accomplished when we figured them out.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Coyle

    Wonderful rhyming, rhythm, and story! Superb artwork! A story filled with merriment and mystery. How did I miss this one for my children. This book will sure to spark the brain cells of any youngster.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cara Hinton

    Very clever book that will entertain for hours. Illustrations are magical with hidden clues, and drawings. So much in this little book that could absorb (especially a child) for very long periods of time.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Megan Johnson

    This is the cutest little book with a great mystery to solve I just think it would take to long to go through with a class that only has 30 mins. I will read this to my kids to see if they can figure out who ate the feast.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sara Hollar

    This picture book was fabulous! You read the story and try to solve the mystery. There are clues everywhere among the incredible illustrations. There's a code to decipher at the end and we just had a fabulous time as a family solving the mystery! Highly recommend. This picture book was fabulous! You read the story and try to solve the mystery. There are clues everywhere among the incredible illustrations. There's a code to decipher at the end and we just had a fabulous time as a family solving the mystery! Highly recommend.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shaye Miller

    Stunning artwork! I think I'll have to work on the mystery for a bit... Stunning artwork! I think I'll have to work on the mystery for a bit...

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