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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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Product Description

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
5.0 out of 5 stars His Best March 5 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the one that started it all. Like wildfire in my Elementary School, this puzzle book was extraordinary and became very popular. As with his other books, they are no less admirable when encountering them after childhood.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this WITH your child! Nov. 2 2006
Format:Hardcover
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Children's Novel May 5 2004
Format:Hardcover
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 mom or dad every time I found a new clue, or solved another piece of the puzzle.
So when I wanted to buy some books for a neice who loves to read the Eleventh Hour was at the top of my lengthy list. She has enjoyed the book and solved the mystery pretty quickly for an 8 year old, and even solved she still loves to spend hours looking through the book at its beautiful illustrations and try to find more hidden clues to the mystery.
This is most certainly the perfect book for any imaginative and curious child!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Mind Stretching Book Feb. 19 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
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. He has a grand feast, but no one can eat it until the Eleventh Hour. To take up the time they play games. When it is time to eat the feast, they find that the food has vanished! You have to solve the mystery to find out who stole the feast. It is a fun and challenging book. It keeps your mind working!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Great Illustrations, Unsolvable for Children Dec 28 2003
By Jan
Format:Paperback
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 Curious? A Wonderful Mystery! Dec 8 2003
Format:Paperback
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 pictures. I recomend this book to anyone with children, I haven't met one who didn't like it!
It's also a wonderful gift for parents of smaller children because they can still have much fun along with their children trying to pick out every single clue to deduce the hungry guest really is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgetable! I love it! Nov. 17 2003
By Laura
Format:Hardcover
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. Around my freshman year of high school I started thinking about the book again and was trying to find it. I didn't have a title or an author so it was complicated! I'm now a sophomore in college and I just found the book!! I just ordered a copy. What I'm getting at is, the book is definitely one that will stick with you. Unforgetable. The illistrations are incredible. Great book for any child OR adult!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific book! June 3 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Definitely, without a doubt, one of the best books for children (or anyone really!) who loves animals and mysteries out there. I first saw this book in 6th grade, when my class had this mystery unit and we all read this book. It was incredible! I was blown away by the awesome art work and wonderful story line, I couldn't get enough of it. And now I'm out of school, into college, and I still think about this book from time to time. It will leave an impact on you and your children, or pupils, or whoever, I guarantee it. You'll never forget this book. I know I didn't, I'm going to order a copy!
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