Read Friday Night
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.
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Read Monday Night
Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
Visually interpreted by Graeme Base
Based on the poem by Lewis Carroll from Through the Looking Glass, this book is a visual and aural feast to the imagination. Illustrated by Graeme Base of Animalia fame, you could easily sit for hours pouring over the fantastical creatures detailed on the pages. One of the best aspects, of course, are the words invented by Carroll, such as this opening phrase:
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
You don’t know what the words mean, but you can almost infer from the context and organization. This would be a great exercise with an older reader, to try and think of new words, or new meanings for words. For a younger pre-reader or toddler, I really think the text is a little beyond them, and could possibly cause confusion. However, when read with this beautifully illustrated version, you can almost skip the words and just look at pictures. The book does have many pages with no words at all, Jabberwocky actually being a relatively short poem.
Be warned, the illustrated Jabberwocky creature can seem scary to some children, and the ending page may also disturb them, being comprised of a two-page spread of fantastical creature’s heads on a trophy wall. But I do recommend this to older readers and to those toddlers and pre-readers who aren’t too sensitive.
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