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The Eleventh Hour

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Jim and Jules are childhood friends, born on the same day in the same village. All their lives, Jim has been first — born two minutes before Jules, always faster, always stronger. When the First World War breaks out in Europe, the two young men enlist in the fight with 30,000 other Canadians. On the Front, conditions aren’t epic and glorious but muddy and barbaric. Here, t Jim and Jules are childhood friends, born on the same day in the same village. All their lives, Jim has been first — born two minutes before Jules, always faster, always stronger. When the First World War breaks out in Europe, the two young men enlist in the fight with 30,000 other Canadians. On the Front, conditions aren’t epic and glorious but muddy and barbaric. Here, too, Jim is the first to attack. Jules is always two minutes behind: lagging in drills, missing the boat, handed chores instead of honors. On November 11, 1918, Jim and Jules are sent out to fight one last time. Jim, always first over the top of the trench, is shot and dies at 10:58am, two minutes before the Armistice takes effect at 11:00am. Illustrated by political cartoonist and Letters to a Prisoner author Jacques Goldstyn and inspired by true events, this picture book is a simple, poignant, thought-provoking story to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice in 2018.


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Jim and Jules are childhood friends, born on the same day in the same village. All their lives, Jim has been first — born two minutes before Jules, always faster, always stronger. When the First World War breaks out in Europe, the two young men enlist in the fight with 30,000 other Canadians. On the Front, conditions aren’t epic and glorious but muddy and barbaric. Here, t Jim and Jules are childhood friends, born on the same day in the same village. All their lives, Jim has been first — born two minutes before Jules, always faster, always stronger. When the First World War breaks out in Europe, the two young men enlist in the fight with 30,000 other Canadians. On the Front, conditions aren’t epic and glorious but muddy and barbaric. Here, too, Jim is the first to attack. Jules is always two minutes behind: lagging in drills, missing the boat, handed chores instead of honors. On November 11, 1918, Jim and Jules are sent out to fight one last time. Jim, always first over the top of the trench, is shot and dies at 10:58am, two minutes before the Armistice takes effect at 11:00am. Illustrated by political cartoonist and Letters to a Prisoner author Jacques Goldstyn and inspired by true events, this picture book is a simple, poignant, thought-provoking story to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice in 2018.

30 review for The Eleventh Hour

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Farmer

    I shed tears at the public service desk when I read this book. So I have to give it 5 stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chinook

    2020 - Apparently one year has made a huge difference, or perhaps it was reading it at the same time as Remembrance Day is being taught at school, but both girls were very engaged when I read the book this time. Kait wants to take it to school to show her teacher. 2019 - This is a really realistic picture book about the horrors of World War I. Kait and Maddie are way too young for it, but we will revisit it in a few years for Remembrance Day.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Grissom

    Wow, what a tear-jerker of a picture book! I love this story and want to share it with students and teachers alike.

  4. 4 out of 5

    KDV

    Incredible and moving picture book about two friends in World War I. Absolutely devastating. Like many picture books written about war, I'm not sure how many adults would be willing to share it with children, and I don't know how many children would actually benefit from reading it? I'm not a parent, I don't know. Seems like a useful way to discuss war, if asked. Anyway. Amazing book that taught me a couple things about WWI (ah, children's books! Perfect way to learn, at any age). Read it if you Incredible and moving picture book about two friends in World War I. Absolutely devastating. Like many picture books written about war, I'm not sure how many adults would be willing to share it with children, and I don't know how many children would actually benefit from reading it? I'm not a parent, I don't know. Seems like a useful way to discuss war, if asked. Anyway. Amazing book that taught me a couple things about WWI (ah, children's books! Perfect way to learn, at any age). Read it if you like crying. Read it if you don't and deal with it!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paula Hollohan

    Jacques Goldstyn does it again. Making war a terrible, visible reality for children without scaring them but by making them aware of what it meant to be in World War I. Following two characters shows what a gamble it was to join up and to fight from the Canadian perspective. Include this book in your Grade 4-6 discussion of Remembrance Day and as a class discussion about war.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Deb in UT

    One of the remarkable things about this book is that it held the interest of both me and Alena. The illustrations are well done. The words are well chosen. I like how it shows who Jules and Jim are before the war and how it follows them from birth to the end. It's educational about war. I teared up. One of the remarkable things about this book is that it held the interest of both me and Alena. The illustrations are well done. The words are well chosen. I like how it shows who Jules and Jim are before the war and how it follows them from birth to the end. It's educational about war. I teared up.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    The Eleventh Hour by Jacques Goldstyn is a historical fiction picture book that takes place in 1914 when Canada enters the World war I. I located the picture book through a historical fiction pamphlet about World War I and II at my local library. The book would be good for age levels 4th grade and up. It is about two best friends, Jules and Jim, who grow up together and Jim is the stronger, faster boy who is always a couple steps ahead. The boys volunteer to join the war together and they fight The Eleventh Hour by Jacques Goldstyn is a historical fiction picture book that takes place in 1914 when Canada enters the World war I. I located the picture book through a historical fiction pamphlet about World War I and II at my local library. The book would be good for age levels 4th grade and up. It is about two best friends, Jules and Jim, who grow up together and Jim is the stronger, faster boy who is always a couple steps ahead. The boys volunteer to join the war together and they fight together enduring the reality, struggles and terrors of being in a war. The book gives an accurate historical representation and background including maps and true events that took place during the war. Its illustrations a full of color and cartoon like with speech bubbles as some text. It was an engaging read and I felt it really opened my eyes to the world of war for two young soldiers. It could be a way to introduce teaching about World War I while at the same time telling a tale of a valuable friendship. It was an emotional read as most books are that accurately depict how war must have felt to people during that time. The book also took place from the perspective of Canada which was interesting and give a window into what it was like in other places besides America.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Since the last book I reviewed was a WWI story, I thought it would be a good time to look at The Eleventh Hour, a WWI picture book for older readers (7+). It is the story of two friends who ultimately find themselves on the battlefield, and give the poppy on the cover, I assume they fought on Flanders Field. Jules and Jim are born in the same town on the same day in a small Canadian town. Jim is born first, followed by Jules two minutes later, setting a life long pattern of Jim being on time, Jul Since the last book I reviewed was a WWI story, I thought it would be a good time to look at The Eleventh Hour, a WWI picture book for older readers (7+). It is the story of two friends who ultimately find themselves on the battlefield, and give the poppy on the cover, I assume they fought on Flanders Field. Jules and Jim are born in the same town on the same day in a small Canadian town. Jim is born first, followed by Jules two minutes later, setting a life long pattern of Jim being on time, Jules being late. Because they are next door neighbors, the boys play with each other as babies, and become childhood best friends. They like to do the same things, but it is always clear that Jim is the leader: '...Jim always took the lead. He was faster and stronger than Jules, but since they were friends, Jim always looked out for Jules. Everyone agreed: Jules and Jim were an odd pair." The two remain best friends as they grow up and when Britain and Germany go to war in 1914, Canada also goes to war (at the time, Canada was a British dominion). Both Jim and Jules enlist in the army. And just like always, Jules is a little behind Jim, who gets the best fitting uniform, does better in basic training and sails to Europe in a big new convoy ship. Showing up two minutes late, Jules ends up in an ill fitting uniform, spends basic training peeling potatoes, and misses sailing to Europe in the same ship as his best friend. War isn't exactly what they expected, but they do their duty in the trenches, fighting the Germans, the wet cold, the lice, and the rats in the trenches and obeying orders. Jules and Jim never really understood the war and even envy prisoners, for whom the war is over. The war gets much worse before it gets better, but finally, on November 11, 1918, an armistice is signed and the cease fire is scheduled to happen at 11 o'clock that morning. At 10:58 AM, following an order to attack, Jim is killed on the battlefield and Jules is devastated. Jules returns home without his best friend, and tries to live a normal life, but can't stop thinking about Jim. After trying all kinds of jobs, Jules becomes a watchmaker, and although his watches work well, they nevertheless always run two minutes behind. Originally written in French (Jules et Jim: frères d'armes) and skillfully translated by Anne Louise Mahoney, who never loses the wry humor or the poignancy of the story, The Eleventh Hours is an incredibly sad book. Each time I've read it, it brings tears to my eyes, but it is also an incredibly powerful anti-war story. It is based on a true story and dedicated to the memory of George Lawrence Price, the last Canadian to die in WWI, when he was killed at 10:58 AM, just two minutes before WWI ended. Goldstyn is a political cartoonist and is quite adapt at creating a strong story with one illustration. And The Eleventh Hour is not different. Despite the economy of words and spare line and watercolor illustrations, Goldstyn nevertheless paints a full picture of more than a life long friendship, and life in the trenches, he also manages to include what life was life on the home front, giving a well rounded picture of how war impacted life during WWI, and from which one can easily extrapolate that these tragedies and hardships are same realities of war in general. The Eleventh Hour is a book that will appeal to historical fiction fans, those interested in WWI history, and definitely to pacifists like myself. This book is recommended for readers age 7+ This book was purchased for my personal library

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eileen

    Excellent book for elementary school children about the historical significance of the hundredth anniversary of November 11, 1918. The author does a great job of simplifying a heavy topic without detracting from its importance. The non-traditional illustrations fit this book perfectly by creating and enhancing the sombre atmosphere required of the story.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lucia

    Wow! Heart wrenching, but still a beautiful story. Not a preschool story. A wonderful picture book to share the truth of war with older kids. Definitely provides many talking points, and it is based on the true story of the last Canadian soldier to die in the First World War.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    The Eleventh Hour is a children's picture book written and illustrated by Jacques Goldstyn. It stars two Canadian friends, one born just two minutes after the other, go off to war. Since today is Remembrance Day (11 November), I thought it would be apropos to read this book today. The text is rather simplistic and straightforward. Goldstyn delivers his messages about the futility of war and the injustice of labeling fellow humans enemies with simple dignity. The grim story is lightened somewhat b The Eleventh Hour is a children's picture book written and illustrated by Jacques Goldstyn. It stars two Canadian friends, one born just two minutes after the other, go off to war. Since today is Remembrance Day (11 November), I thought it would be apropos to read this book today. The text is rather simplistic and straightforward. Goldstyn delivers his messages about the futility of war and the injustice of labeling fellow humans enemies with simple dignity. The grim story is lightened somewhat by gentle comic touches, such as Goldstyn's loosely drawn characters, and his measured narrative tone. The premise of the book is rather straightforward. This fictionalized historical tale by cartoonist Goldstyn tells the story of the very last Canadian soldier to die in World War I. Friends Jules and Jim grow up together in a small town. Jim is the leader as he was born two minutes before Jules. When the war starts, the two enlist and go to battle with scores of other uniformed figures. Just minutes before the armistice is signed, Jules's habitual dawdling saves his life when Jim goes into the field first and is fatally shot. All in all, The Eleventh Hour is a wonderful and poignant children picture book about war and injustice and the futility of it all.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    This is a beautiful and touching book that will be hard to hand to a suitable reader. Unlike most picture books for older readers, the contents of this one seemed to aimed at about 6th grade. Thus, the physical design may put at least some of them off. The story of the two best friends growing up and going off to war was a good way to tell at least some of the stupidity and horror of a war like the First World War, but the cartoony artwork was a little creepy in a couple of the scenes, and almos This is a beautiful and touching book that will be hard to hand to a suitable reader. Unlike most picture books for older readers, the contents of this one seemed to aimed at about 6th grade. Thus, the physical design may put at least some of them off. The story of the two best friends growing up and going off to war was a good way to tell at least some of the stupidity and horror of a war like the First World War, but the cartoony artwork was a little creepy in a couple of the scenes, and almost put me off the book. The book was based on a real incident from the war, and something incredibly sad about the timing of events in wartime. The running joke that Jules was always two minutes late for everything got very odd, and I'm not sure the payoff was quite right, but the story overall was powerful and moving.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Through a picture book, in simple language and vivid drawings, Jacques Goldstyn conveys for young and old the greatest deception of war: its deep futility. At every war's end, more is lost than is gained. Not just lives on the field of battle, but the sense of self and stability of those returned to a world forever changed. All I can say is read it. On Veteran's Day or any other day. Read it with children and help them understand beyond dates, and figures, and maps. Help them see the true sacrif Through a picture book, in simple language and vivid drawings, Jacques Goldstyn conveys for young and old the greatest deception of war: its deep futility. At every war's end, more is lost than is gained. Not just lives on the field of battle, but the sense of self and stability of those returned to a world forever changed. All I can say is read it. On Veteran's Day or any other day. Read it with children and help them understand beyond dates, and figures, and maps. Help them see the true sacrifices. The Eleventh Hour is a worthy tribute to those who served, both the ones who gave all and the ones who may have went on without them in body, but never left in spirit. This won't be a book I soon forget.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brooklyn Cribdon (The Wild Library)

    I read & evaluated this book for the Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable (VCLR)'s 2019 Information Book Award. As a children's information book, I wasn't a fan of this. The illustrations were quite violent despite being cartoon-like. This story could have been told more eloquently... I'm not sure the cartooning was the best medium for a kids' book about war and death. It almost felt like this should have been an adult non fiction book. Oddly enough though, because of the book's uniqueness, I read & evaluated this book for the Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable (VCLR)'s 2019 Information Book Award. As a children's information book, I wasn't a fan of this. The illustrations were quite violent despite being cartoon-like. This story could have been told more eloquently... I'm not sure the cartooning was the best medium for a kids' book about war and death. It almost felt like this should have been an adult non fiction book. Oddly enough though, because of the book's uniqueness, the story stayed with me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I picked this up at the library last week and quickly skimmed it before reading it my nearly 4 year old. He did fine with the story & illustrations, but it was me crying at the end. All through the book I was hoping "this better not be based on a true story, this better not be based on a true story". And sure enough, I was choking back tears at the end as I read about the last Canadian that died in WWI, at 10:58am. This was a momentous occasion though - I remember my mom crying while reading to I picked this up at the library last week and quickly skimmed it before reading it my nearly 4 year old. He did fine with the story & illustrations, but it was me crying at the end. All through the book I was hoping "this better not be based on a true story, this better not be based on a true story". And sure enough, I was choking back tears at the end as I read about the last Canadian that died in WWI, at 10:58am. This was a momentous occasion though - I remember my mom crying while reading to my sisters & I, and I have officially become that mother too.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rcltigger

    Sigh. To say that I really liked it is not exactly the case, but I think that this was really well done. The basic premise is that two boys grow up as best friends: Jim, who was always first in line and Jules, who was always running two minutes behind. They grow up and are sent to fight in World War I together, experiencing all of the tragedy and hardship that war brings together. I knew what was coming and it made me so mad but that is what happens in war. Well done.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Peyton

    I would rate this book six stars if I could! This is a picture book, but it is so much more than that. Every child should read this. It does not paint a glamour picture of war and battle. Instead, it showcases the truth of war and the reality that soldiers face. It is important and does an excellent job of telling all without being scary for children to approach. This is a book I want to get everyone to read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Keri Douglas

    I really liked this book, but it is not appropriate for elementary. The illustrations are graphic with war violence. I was actually shocked that this has a target audience of young children. I appreciate this story and probably the hope to educate kids, but it is way too much for an elementary library.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leesi Franklin

    I don't usually cry while reading to my toddler for bedtime. But this book got me. It's a beautiful story of two friends growing up together then going to fight together in WWI. It is factual and somewhat gruesome, as war is, so it may not be a book for particularly sensitive children. I highly recommend this book. I don't usually cry while reading to my toddler for bedtime. But this book got me. It's a beautiful story of two friends growing up together then going to fight together in WWI. It is factual and somewhat gruesome, as war is, so it may not be a book for particularly sensitive children. I highly recommend this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Middlestead

    The illustrations in this book are really interesting and, at times, not for sensitive readers. There are red splatters at injury sites, clearly blood. War is gruesome and this book shows it. I would not refrain from reading this to children, but do give a quick pre-read first.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tessa

    This picture book for adults (I doubt kids would find it interesting) was a decent-enough look at trench warfare during World War 1. It's very simple, but I think it would be a good supplement for a more in-depth nonfiction book. This picture book for adults (I doubt kids would find it interesting) was a decent-enough look at trench warfare during World War 1. It's very simple, but I think it would be a good supplement for a more in-depth nonfiction book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    Might be too dark for some kids, but a great read for older children. A realistic and touching story of friendship, this picture book does not shy away from the horrors of war. Truly moving and thought provoking. A good conversation starter.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Denise Streichenwein

    An amazing book to tackle a tough subject. Good for a mature reader or one that delves deep into the subject. I recommend parent reads it first as some pics may be hard for sensitive children. But very, very well done.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Bradley

    What a great way to start a discussion about WW1, or before Remembrance Day, or to talk about friendship, and the best part is that it is Canadian! Picture books are such a great way to share a common text, and this would be a great option.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Trina

    A strong addition to any Remembrance Day collection.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Connie Heneghan

    A simply told but honest view of World War I.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Excellent because/but it doesn't gloss over the horrors of WWI. Sad and horrible while being a sweet friendship story. Recommended for ages 7-12 who are curious about war and history. Excellent because/but it doesn't gloss over the horrors of WWI. Sad and horrible while being a sweet friendship story. Recommended for ages 7-12 who are curious about war and history.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Er Kuan

    War history fiction in picture book format that is beautifully written. Excellent conversation starter on war and perspective.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    I was expecting a little more from this. I found it a little disjointed and lacking.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tegan

    Oof, my heart. Definitely a book for older readers. A lot of tough topics & detail. Very well told.

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