- Megan Bingham
A book is read, a story ends, a telling tale is told. But who can say what mysteries a single page may hold?
Figure out this fantastic seek-and-find mystery by Graeme Base! When Horace the Elephant turns eleven, he decides there should be a celebration. But, not just any celebration—a celebration with a BIG feast! Horace chooses his ten guests, then eleven favorite foods of his choice. And, of course, eleven fun games to play!
Early the next morning, Horace's party guests arrive in costume. As soon as they arrive, the guests are excited about the feast. After all, they can smell it from the Great Hall! But Horace explains that the Banquet that lies before them cannot and will not be devoured until THE ELEVENTH HOUR, the time he has set.
Over the next few hours, Horace and his animal friends play games, such as musical chairs, cards, Snakes and Ladders, Cricket, Blind Man's Buff, and Hide and Seek. After the final game of Tug O' War, they are terribly tired . . . and hungry. It has reached THE ELEVENTH HOUR, and they are ready for the feast in the Banquet Hall! But, something has happened! All the food has disappeared! Aghast, a thief! But who could manage such a theft? The animals exclaim, "Not I!" and "It wasn't me!" blaming each other, but never themselves . . . this mystery is a curious one, indeed! With their stomachs grumbling, Horace does save the day by making a stack of sandwiches. "This lot is not as fancy as the Birthday Feast," he explains, "But eleven times as healthy, 'coz it's made with whole wheat bread!"
In the end, the guests never find out who stole the feast, someone they all knew who attended the birthday celebration. Can YOU figure out who stole the Banquet Hall feast by using clues featured in every illustration throughout the book?
The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery is a timeless picture book teaches children how to solve a mystery using methods of observation and deduction. When I was growing up, it was one of my favorite books to check out from the library. To this day, it is still a favorite of mine. Although it seems like an ordinary seek-and-find book, it's not. Author Graeme Base (The Sign of the Seahorse) explains in the back of the book that he wanted to create a story with multiple puzzles, ranging from secret codes and clues hidden in all aspects of his illustrations—even right down to the borders. But, be warned: Base has also hidden a number of red herrings and allusions throughout the book to discourage you.
Try The Eleventh Hour and its amazing challenges first, then, if you think you've solved the mystery or you are ready to give up, look up the answers in the back of the book. Be a detective with Graeme Base and crack the case of the missing Banquet Hall Feast!