'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 3 May 2010

Review: The Eleventh Hour

Title: The Eleventh Hour

Author: Graeme Base

Illustrator: Graeme Base

Publisher: Puffin Books

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780140541489

For ages: 5+

Type: Picture Book

About: It is Horace the elephant’s eleventh birthday, and he prepares a great feast for his friends. Eleven types of food and a day of fun planned with so much care.

As the guests arrive, including the pig, the rhino, the mouse and the giraffes, they are shown the feast of cakes and treats and lemonade. But, alas, they cannot partake in it until The Eleventh Hour: the moment Horace turns eleven.

Instead, they play games first. Eleven of them, to be precise. Sack races, snakes and ladders, cricket, tennis and tug o’ war, amongst others, are enjoyed by all.

And then comes time to eat the feast. But, to everyone’s shock, all the food, so carefully prepared by Horace, has disappeared. Someone has stolen it! But who? All present deny the charge, and so there is a mystery to be solved.

At first glance, this is a charming rhyming tale accompanied by the inimitable illustrations of Graeme Base. As the reader progresses further through the book, however, a series of clues hidden carefully in the intricately detailed drawings make themselves more apparent.

In the vein of a murder mystery, but with a child-friendly theme, this is my all-time favourite Base book. As a child, I spent hours upon hours studying the pictures, firstly solving the big mystery and then searching for all the hidden clues that are outlined for us at the back of the book.

A story with a timeless, irresistible whodunit twist, this is sure to entertain any child with an inquisitive mind.

Author website

This book is available online