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The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery Hardcover – September 20, 1993


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The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery + Animalia + The Water Hole
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (September 20, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810932652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810932654
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Reading The Eleventh Hour is like running a marathon: one finishes exhausted but satisfied. Graeme Base, creator of the popular Animalia, has crafted another intricately wrought, gorgeously illustrated picture book, this time a mystery in verse. When Horace the Elephant decides to throw himself a party for his 11th birthday, he never suspects a crime will be committed by lunchtime. Who has stolen the birthday feast? As with any good mystery, everyone is guilty until proven innocent. The proof lies in the myriad clues embedded in each glorious illustration. Young sleuths will delight in decoding the complex messages that pop up in unexpected places.

Graeme Base used the buildings he saw during his travels through Africa, Asia, and Europe to design and decorate Horace's fantastic house. Astute readers may recognize Roman cathedrals, Scottish palaces, and stone carvings from India. Best of all, secreted in these walls are cryptic messages in Egyptian hieroglyphics, anagrams, and even Morse code to challenge the perceptive and deductive abilities of any reader "of tender years or long in tooth." The Eleventh Hour is a brilliant, rigorous, creative romp that no child (or adult) should miss. (All Ages)

From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Graeme Base is one of the world's leading creators of picture books. His alphabet book, Animalia, received international acclaim when it was first published in 1986 and has sold more than two million copies. Graeme lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Customer Reviews

I bought this book for my daughter years ago and she loved it!
Suzanne St Pierre
We got sucked into this book for an hour, combing through the pages past bed time, snuggling in bed, and nearly shouting out when we found clues.
HM
Mr. Base is a wonderful story teller and the illustrations are amazing.
Kelly Sahrle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I first encountered this book while babysitting, many years ago. It was the kids' new favorite book (they were aged 6-10 perhaps). I read it to them & was enchanted with it (they just liked the story). I put the kids to bed & proceeded to spend 3+ hours (and I was a TV-loving young adult) trying to solve all the riddles & the find the answer to the mystery. I finally figured it out, but later, when I read the previously sealed "who-dunnit" section, I realized how much I'd missed in fantastically re-created architecture & secreted clues & jokes. The author/illustrator is incredibly imaginative & incorporates amazing artistry. I was totally engrossed & completely hooked. The family who introduced me to this book felt strongly about providing intelligent, stimulating & highly creative resources to their children. Since then I have bought this as a gift more than once... The story is simple & rhymes pleasantly so that it is appealing to children. The pictures are complex & fantastic to look at. However, I'm sure the wonder & adventure I found is lost on many children & adults. They may not have the patience or love of mystery that I do, but perhaps they could grow into it, certainly, over time, new discoveries would appear to even the most uninterested reader.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By David Glasser on August 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I think one of my great regrets in life so far is that I opened the answers to The Eleventh Hour before solving it for myself.

Don't let it happen to you!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Azuree Riordan on November 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My mother first bought this book in 1989. She didn't know about anything about Graeme Base, but was greatly impressed by the illustrations and got it for my siblings and I to pore over. Not only were the illustrations lively and BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL, but the mystery itself was so cleverly set up! I never would have guessed...actually we did correctly guess who it was, but we had no idea how until after we opened the seal in the back. Once we did, we realized we didn't know the half of it. By the way, did anybody ever find out the name of the Swan? Because my older sister did, and that was even harder to figure out than "Who Stole The Feast?" (Here's a hint, and I hope it doesn't give the answer away: The Card Game) I guarantee if you buy this book, you will NOT be disappointed!
P.S. "Animalia" was pretty good, too!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
My six-year-old sister recieved this book for Christmas last year. From looking at the cover I thought it was meant for kids aged 5-7, but after reading it I was determined to solve it. When my friend came over for a sleepover, she read it and we cracked it within one hour. Although I know who stole the feast, I still enjoy looking at all the little details in the pictures.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I`m a Thirteen year old, and i got this book from my brother when i was about 3. I read it up until i was about 11. I never did read the pages within the seal [of course, my brother had already broken it - he`s about 9 years older than me] and i figured it out. last night i looked through the pages of the seal, and i had figured everything out, EXCEPT the swans name. i really want to know her name. what helped me the most figuring it out was the musical notes, i played them out on the piano and it was a dead give away. but anyways, i would recommend this to ANY other child. Along with Animaila - i still read these books. [and in animalia, try to find the kid with the shirt in all the illustrations.]
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When Horace turned eleven, he arranged himself a birthday party at his stunning house. He invited eleven friends to his party, and made an eleven course feast for them to eat at eleven o'clock, after playing eleven games. But after the eleven games are played, they return to eat the feast, but it has vanished. You are invited to turn back the pages, and look in the pictures for clues to find out which of the guests was the guilty one. I first saw The Eleventh Hour at a friend's house a few years ago. I was tatally amazed at how many codes and details could be packed into so few pages! The pictures, though, were beautiful nontheless! And even though there were so many codes and puzzles, it was still really difficult to figure out who-done-it. This book is a masterpiece for anyone who enjoys mysteries, puzzles, or Graeme Base's books, and I recomend it to nearly anyone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Math Teacher on August 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have 35 copies of this book and we start the school year with a focus on problem solving. My middle school students, in groups of four, solve as many of the puzzles as they can, determine the names and costumes of all the guests (one is almost impossible) and learn a lot about working together as a group in the process. This book is really great, captures the imagination of my students and is a great way to start the year.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Christy Wanlass on August 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I first saw this book when my six year old son saw it at the library. He wanted to check it out because his summer school teacher had read it to him and he said it was really good. So we brought it home and read it. Of course, by the second page my son was revealing the answer to the mystery (because his teacher had explained it to him). So, I didn't get to figure it out like everyone else. After we read the book, I put my children to bed and promptly went back to the couch and picked it up. I went to the "top secret" section in the back that reveals the answer to the mystery. Detailed explanations about each clue on each page were there and everything was so fascinating. If you've had this book forever and not figured out the mystery, your missing out on a lot of neat info by not opening the back section! I plan to buy this book for road trips... I think my kids could entertain themselves for hours trying to find all the mice!
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