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The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery [Large Print] [Paperback]

Graeme Base
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 1997
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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From Amazon

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) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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 the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When Horace turned Eleven he decided there should be Some kind of celebration. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this WITH your child! Nov. 2 2006
This is one amazing book! Illustrations, poetry, decoding all in one tome. Reading the review by batesrj I find s/he may have missed the point. Reading and discussing this book with your child(ren) might be one incredible adventure for all. Many years ago my son, age 12-13 at the time, and I began reading the book together about 7 p.m. in the evening. He and I loved playing games and this was a wonderful opportunity for something new. Decoding is always a fun challenge and he loved to create messages in code. We thought we would do a few pages each night. Little did we know how much fun decoding this mystery would be. Never opening the secret packet, we worked non-stop and solved the mystery about 2 or 3 in the morning! We still laugh and talk abaout the fun we had so long ago. I agree a child might not bbe able to decipher this alone, but working with a parent or other friends is a great way to encourage reading and collaboration. I even recommended this book to our school's GATE teacher who invited me to the class to discuss and work with her students.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Great Illustrations, Unsolvable for Children Dec 28 2003
By Jan
While the illustrations are superb and disovering some of the clues can be great fun, solving all them is arguably impossible. For those who happen to be well schooled (certainly not children) in obscure areas of knowledge, it may be possible, but not likely given that the author makes one significant error (see page where animals discover feast is missing) and takes such liberty as making up some, but not all of the hieroglyphics (very misleading). Some COULD be deciphered, one, for the letter Q would be an extremely fortunate guess. Morse code can be translated online but will not be within casual reach of many children. The author has some brilliant ideas that are just not well suited for his intended audience. As an adult book, the conclusions are challenging, if not impossible in certain areas due to the aforementioned, however, children can certainly enjoy it if they are not frustrated by the unlikelihood they will solve the mystery based on solving each of the author's clues. If they enjoy the possibility of a correct answer based on guesswork and solving the occasional clue, it may be very enjoyable for them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Mystery Book For Children Dec 4 2002
The Eleventh Hour is a great mystery story about Horace the Elephant. Horace is turning ll and decides to give himself a birthday party. He invites ll friends and makes up the invitations himself. He prepares all the yummiest foods for the party and all the guests come dressed in wonderful costumes. They were all so excited to see the delicious food that was made for them that they got really hungry. But Horace told them because of this being his llth birthday they would have to wait until "The Eleventh Hour" to eat all the goodies!
Everyone was dressed in wonderful costumes and were doing different things. Some guests played chess while others played Hid (a game of tag) or Snakes and Ladders (a board game) and other's played Tennis or Blind Man's Bluff. Everyone was having a really good time and getting more and more hungry! They were all happy when Horace called them in The Eleventh Hour to eat the birthday feast! Here is where the Mystery begins!
Everyone came into get some delicious treats and low and behold the table was empty! All the food had disappeared and no one knew who had taken the food away.
The reader has the job of solving this crime. The author gives a sheet of clues and the reader is off to solve the crime. This was really fun for me and I reccommend this book to any reader from the 3rd - 6th grade who loves to solve mysteries.
The pictures are really neat and there are lots of clues to look for in the pictures and there is information for the reader at the end of the book about clues from all the illustrations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing mystery for fun book lovers Dec 12 2000
By A Customer
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Take the time and "do" this book. It's amazing! Feb. 16 2000
By A Customer
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars His Best
This is the one that started it all. Like wildfire in my Elementary School, this puzzle book was extraordinary and became very popular. Read more
Published 6 months ago by M. Molnar
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Children's Novel
Perfect for the curious and inquisitive child, the Eleventh Hour was one of my favorite books as a kid, I enjoyed every day it took me to solve the mystery, running with glee to my... Read more
Published on May 5 2004 by Mary E. Wheeler
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mind Stretching Book
This book is a fun book to read! It has very detailed illistrations. It is about an 11 year-old elephant who wants to invite his animal friends to his birthday party. Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Curious? A Wonderful Mystery!
This is still one of my favorite childrens books, I remember pouring over the highly detailed paintings of Graeme Base trying to pick out the clues in each and every one of the... Read more
Published on Dec 8 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgetable! I love it!
This book is such a great book for children. I first read this book when I was in the 2nd grade (1992). I loved it. Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2003 by Laura
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific book!
Definitely, without a doubt, one of the best books for children (or anyone really!) who loves animals and mysteries out there. Read more
Published on June 2 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST HAVE FOR TEACHERS
Being a primary teacher, I thought this book would be too difficult for my students. But in reality they LOVED it! Read more
Published on Feb. 28 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Mystery Book For Children
The Eleventh Hour is a great mystery story about Horace the Elephant. Horace is turning ll and decides to give himself a birthday party. Read more
Published on Dec 4 2002 by Jon Hanscom
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll read it again and again
I absolutely love Graeme Base books and have used Animalia for hours and hours tutoring a boy in English. Read more
Published on May 11 2002 by Isabella K. Badenoch
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be a classic
This book is a classic for me. I had a copy as a child and have recently purchased this book for my 3 year old son who enjoys the story but cannot yet comprehend the mystery. Read more
Published on May 10 2002 by ollysmom
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