Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery

Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery

4.6 19
by Graeme Base
     
 

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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… See more details below

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As in Base's Animalia , his lush, intricately detailed illustrations in The Eleventh Hour comprise a sort of visual hide-and-seek. Here, the stakes are clues to the solution of a mystery: Who has surreptitiously eaten the feast prepared for Horace the Elephant's 11th birthday party? The culprit could be any of a number of exotically costumed animal guests, from a pig dressed as an admiral to a pair of giraffes in tutus to a zebra gone punk. The fun of poring over the pictures for hidden messages and significant particulars is, happily, matched by the enjoyment derived from the text--witty, ingenious verses that ably skirt the singsong or mundane. It will take an exceptionally persistent sleuth to deduce the thief's identity; many readers may resort to breaking the seal to the ``top secret'' solution. Thus enlightened, those returning to the scenes of the crime may still find some clues difficult to discern; in particular, the large number of concealed ``mice'' are almost impossible to make out. But it is, as Base points out, the thrill of the chase that matters most; and on this count the work scores high marks. All ages. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Barbara Disckind
The same creative, expressive talent who created The Sign of the Seahorse: A Tale of Greed and High Adventure in Two Acts has created this mystery of words and images. Which of the eleven invited guests stole the food for the birthday party for Horace, the eleven-year-old birthday elephant? Eric the zebra? Max the Bengal tiger? Kilroy the mouse? Hidden with elaborately detailed illustrations are clues, some so encrypted as to be nearly impossible to unravel. Oh-so witty text, done in rhyme, is even more delightful when read aloud. "The cakes had turned to scattered crumbs, / no cream was to be seen, / And nothing now remained where once the Chocolate Mousse had been./ The Centrepiece had toppled, / not a strawberry was left. / 'But who', they cried, 'could possibly have managed such a theft?'" Fortunately for this reader, the answer-and even more important, a guide to the clues-is revealed in a special section at the back of the book!
Children's Literature - Marilyn Bagel
Little and big sleuths alike will delight in this ingenious clue-filled creation from the author of "Animalia." When Horace turns eleven years old, he gives himself a grand party. But there is mischief afoot, and it is up to the reader to discover the perpetrator. Through a series of clues cleverly buried in the plot as well as in the book's sumptuously lively illustrations, we are led Columbo-style down the road to discovery. But it's not an easy journey, and that's what makes it fun. If all else fails, the author has graciously offered his extensive explanation of each clue at the back of the book, not to mention a glimpse into how his mind works-which is in itself a fascinating voyage. Consider this aerobics for the brain. It's a good workout!
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-- This picture book is a puzzle mystery written in verse. When Horace the elephant turns 11, he decides to throw an elaborate birthday party and invites 11 friends. The animal guests arrive in costume, and entertain themselves with a variety of activities until it is time to eat. When the 11th hour arrives, however, they are horrified to find that the entire feast has been eaten. All guests protest their innocence, and Horace comes through with sandwiches to save the day. What remains is for readers to discover the culprit. ``The Inside Story,'' a sealed section of pages containing the solution to the mystery and explanations of the plethora of clues and puzzles in the book, follows the story. Intricate watercolor and acrylic paintings in vibrant colors crowd each page, assaulting readers with activity and detail. Both text and paintings are framed by black-and-white decorative borders that provide still more detail. After either breaking a code through careful observation (very, very careful, one must assume) or checking ``The Inside Story,'' readers will uncover the identity of the villains. They are hidden everywhere: in the borders and in the body of the illustrations, but only very patient, persistent children will be motivated to detect every one of them. --Corinne Camarata, Port Washington Public Library, NY

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810932654
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
09/28/1993
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
108,313
Product dimensions:
8.67(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
8 - 16 Years

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