The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base
Oh Graeme Base, with your intricate pictures and interesting stories. We’ve ended up with several of your books, and that’s a good thing. But I get so distracted by the pictures that reading them for Water Boy takes twice as long as necessary!
In The Eleventh Hour, several party animals are invited to Horace the Elephant’s eleventh birthday. They play hide-and-seek, poker, and pool, among other things, all while in costume dress. The Zebra comes as a Punk and the Swan as a Princess, for instance. They are anxious to eat the birthday feast Horace has prepared for them, but wind up disappointed! It’s discovered at the end of the book that someone has stolen and eaten the beautiful feast that was laid out waiting for them! They sorrowfully eat plains sandwiches and wonder amongst themselves who could have eaten the wonderful food.
This would seem like story enough for anyone, but you now have the opportunity to solve the mystery! Hidden on each page are clues to solving the case of the feast thief, and it’s as though you’re reading a story within a story. At the very end of the book is a sealed section that you must open to finish the entire mystery, adding a whole new dimension to an already great experience. The story is written in rhyming couplets, which adds a nice touch. I once again highly recommend this book by Graeme Base for readers of all ages.