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.
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