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The Eleventh Hour
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The Eleventh Hour

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  5,261 ratings  ·  237 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, 39 pages
Published 1993 by Harry N. Abrams (first published 1988)
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The Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgAnimalia by Graeme BaseThe Mitten by Jan BrettStellaluna by Janell CannonSong for Papa Crow by Marit Menzin
Children's Picture Books With Beautiful illustrations
7th out of 966 books — 819 voters
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Best Children's Books
269th out of 3,053 books — 4,515 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Here is a story about Horace's (an elephant) eleventh birthday party, and apparently there's a mystery to solve! The mystery isn't revealed until near the end, and the book definitely requires that you look back through it to solve the mystery.

Overall, mystery hunting aside, I enjoyed this book, the fun characters, and the whimsical, jam-packed illustrations! For a rhyming book, the rhymes were really pretty good! I didn't find myself tripping over the rhythm or words hardly at all!

For the mys...more
Wow, what a book! I had read this before, but that time I didn't make the effort to look for clues, solve the mystery, or even read the solution. I always planned to come back and spend more time with this book, so I'm glad I finally did! This time I read the book, looked for clues, deciphered many of the hidden messages, and solved the mystery before ever reading through the solution pages! And wow, the solution pages pointed out many clues I hadn't even noticed. Although some of those clues ar...more
In this "curious mystery" by Graeme Base, author of Animalia,
Horace Elephant invites 11 friends to his eleventh birthday party. After a great deal of elaborate preparation, games, and sport, the awesome feast prepared by Horace is stolen! Which guest was responsible for this heinous crime? The brilliantly embedded clues and breathtaking illustrations contribute to the clever rhyming tale in this modern masterpiece.

No elementary school classroom or personal library is complete without The Elevent...more
This is a good mystery story for older young kids. My niece and I read it together, and we enjoyed the story. I pre-read the book before I read it with her, and I admit, I had to "cheat" and look at the key in the back of the book to discover the answer to the mystery. I don't think that the clues presented themselves very readily, and that's a good thing in a mystery. If this were an adult mystery, I'd think it was great! In a *children's* mystery story, however, maybe a few *slightly* more obv...more
Sep 28, 2010 Megan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: children
Recommended to Megan by: Judy
My mom bought this book for my sisters and I after the illustrations caught her eye in a local bookstore. She brought it home, and we had a lot of fun reading it together, pouring over the beautiful illustrations, and trying to decipher the mystery.

When Horace the elephant turns 11 he throws himself an elaborate birthday party, and invites all of his other animal friends to join in the fun. There are games, costumes, and of course an elaborate feast that Horace himself had prepared. Unfortunatel...more
Jessica Rawden
This book is great for kids who are into mysteries, clues, and decoding. Even better, this is great for kids who are into awesome illustrations. Even better, even better, this poem features some pretty sweetly rhyming pages. I was shocked. I owned Animalia as a kid, but didn't realize Graeme Base could be a pretty good writer! Secret aside for parents: If your child is not a decoder, figure out the mystery ahead of time, or look it up on the Internet. Luckily, the "help" pages are now taped toge...more
I'm just not a big fan of animals in human clothing, but I did like how much is going on in each of these paintings at the surface level. Intrigued by all of the codes lurking in the background. Might take a shot at solving this without consulting the Internet. If kids can figure it out, surely I can, right? :)
Julie Decker
This book, despite its appearance as a storybook, is actually more of a puzzle book, and there's a mystery to solve on every page. The premise of the mystery is that Horace (an elephant) is having a party for his birthday and everyone comes in costume, but then someone took the feast. Who could it be? The puzzles give us clues to figure it out letter by letter.

The genius of this is that it's fun to read even if you don't try to solve, PLUS it's in verse that isn't annoying, PLUS the pictures are...more
Melissa Coyle
Wonderful rhyming, rhythm, and story! Superb artwork! A story filled with merriment and mystery. How did I miss this one for my children. This book will sure to spark the brain cells of any youngster.
Ruth Ann
I read this book because it was mentioned in Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. The illustrations are amazing - full of period architecture, delightful animals in costume, and page borders specific to each scene. The rhyming text flows smoothly, describing the eleventh birthday party of an Elephant named Horace.

You would think with all of those strong qualities that I would enjoy the book, but I did not. There were just too many details and too many codes to figure out and I quickly became o...more
In their dotage the Offspring will still be talking about their crazy mom having a signed first of this that she would read to them, but wouldn't let them touch until they washed their hands.
I have given this book as an eleventh-birthday present to my daughter and niece and they both LOVED it! It's part story, part puzzle, and part mystery. There's also a coded message to solve with the answer cleverly sealed at the back of the book so that you aren't tempted to look too soon until you've solved it on your own.

All of the illustrations in each of Graeme Base's books are always gorgeous paintings and this is no exception. They are very rich with detail and are a beautiful variation of...more
Todd Hansink
If the world were keeping track it would know that my wife has probably set some kind of record for reading to our children. But, alas, the world doesn't keep track of and remunerate such behavior.

Rarely do I get a turn to read to the kids but whenever I do get a turn I often choose this book. The kids are captivated by the amazing artwork while I am more impressed with the sophisticated rhyming. Call me simple, but I love good rhyming. Here is an example from my favorite page:

The Zebra said, '...more
Oh my goodness, I did not like this book. I had such high hopes for it, but it failed miserably. I had to read this for my children's lit class in college, and I hated it.

Basically, this is a picture book in which some animals get together for a party, but one of the guests eats their food and it is up to readers to figure out which guest did it by looking for clues in all of the pictures. Sounds good, right? WRONG! Most of the clues ended up being completely irrelevant, and lots of the clues w...more
For a curious youngster, this would be a perfect choice. Cool animals. Bright colors. Mystery! Parents certainly should be ready to help out a child with all the clues, some of which are quite obvious and visual, others are complex and coded.

There is a value in reading a less simplistic book, filled with rhymes and clues and creativity to a child. You can introduce complicated concepts, nuance, and develop a better relationship. Children learn to love learning, and how to study. High upside, lo...more
Kimberly Werner
"The Eleventh Hour" is an interactive (poetic) picture book for children 5-8 years old (primary) although, it is certain to be enjoyed by a wide range of readers. Horace the elephant has decided to throw himself a costume-themed birthday party and to invite 10 of his animal friends. He is shown in the hours before the party preparing a vast feast for his guests. When the time comes to eat, it is discovered that someone has secretly devoured the food, but who did it? The colorful, larger than lif...more
This is a delightful mystery/puzzle book with gorgeous, detailed art. The basic gimmick is that somebody steals a birthday feast, and the reader is supposed to figure out who did it. It's not really a mystery per se, as one does not really look for clues or evidence so much as one must solve the various puzzles, involving coded messages, Base has hidden in the pictures. There's a page by page explanation at the end, pointing out everything and how to decode them. Great fun.
The very cryptic nature of the puzzle I enjoyed the most. Adding that the clues were visual, within the illustrations, tripled the fun for me. Sadly, I wasn't able to answer the puzzle because of the quality of my copy.
My eyes couldn't see all of the hints without being told. I wonder if the younger children would notice.
I can't wait to try more of his mysteries. Base is a fun, talented and clever writer. I am glad I finally began to read his works.
Dianne J.
Age of readership: Ages 9-12

Genre: Poetry

Diversity: Artistic examples from all over Europe, Asia and Africa

Illustrations: Beautiful, busy drawings full of examples of architecture from all over Europe, Asia and Africa, complete with some Roman cathedrals and places from Scotland as well as stone carvings from India. Each page is uniquely framed in art with Egyptian hieroglyphics, anagrams and Morse code and more.

My response to the book: Once I read this book I was reminded of my joy when I read...more
Calvin  Kwon
This book is a mystery. I still don't know who stole the feast because you have to decode something at the end but it's really hard. This book is really cool. Horace makes a giant feast and when the eleventh hour strikes, his friends go to eat but they get a surprise look cause the food is all gone. This is a big mystery. You should find out at the end of the book, they tell you what to do in the book but don't look at the answers.
Jecka Marie
I was fascinated by this book as a child, and I remain so to this day. It's sort of hard to put into words why certain books made an impact on me as a child. I just loved everything about it: the illustrations, the colors, the story, the intrigue...and the overall "WOW" factor when I had finally put some of the pieces of the mystery together. (My sister and I agreed to never break the seal in the back to reveal the solution, but I'll admit it...I peeked by pulling the pages open a bit. I bet she...more
Christina Fisher
This book is written by the same author as Anamalia, and is equally as beautifully illustrated with tons of details. The difference is that this is a mystery, so readers have to look at each picture very carefully to find clues about who stole all the food at Elephant's 11th birthday at 11:00. Readers of all ages will love this book, because it is captivating and engaging at every turn.
Wendy Toney
Graeme Base is a wonderfully descriptive writer as well as artist. This book is fantastic for kids of all ages. The story is a mystery of which party going animal ate the feast. Through puzzles and clues, some easy others difficult, you try to deduce who did it! I loved this book and will keep it to eventually read it to my future grandchildren.
Jack Kirby and the X-man
I remember loving the challenge of unravelling the mystery when I was younger. Fortunately my memory was not good enough to remember any of the clues or whodunnit, so I got the joy of working it out all over again.

As an adult working out whodunnit isn't a huge challenge - maybe half an hour to an hour of flicking back and forth and removing possibilities. As a child though I remember it being a significant challenge. But even as an adult working out the layer upon layer of clues, messages and hi...more
I got this book and worked on it with a friend when I was in the fifth grade. This is by the author/artist who did Animalia, which is also a lot like The Ultimate Alphabet. Eleventh Hour is a children's mystery story taking place during an elephant's 11th birthday with his eleven guests. Clues abound on each page, some easy, others more difficult to decipher. Well, at least that's how I recall my impression of it back then. Since this book, I have searched for other puzzle-books, but I've yet to...more
There I was, Hunched down in the Children's section of JBU's library. This section was mostly reserved for those going into the field of TEACHING.

I begged for special permission to be in this classroom of wall to wall childhood memories. The clinging smell of oil from skin and aging paper hung in the air as I browsed.

There on a bottom shelf 'The Eleventh Hour" stuck out at me.

I'm on a good standing with Base's work- a frequent favorite I intend to pass on to my own. This wouldn't take me long to...more
Best for kids ages 5 and up.
Early Literacy Skills: Print Motivation, Vocabulary, Phonological Awareness, Narrative Skills

From cover:
When Horace the elephant turns eleven, he celebrates in style by inviting his friends to a splendid party. Fine music, games, and the promise of a magnificent feast prepared by Horace himself (everyone knows elephants are the world;s best cooks!) make this costume gala a most special event. But little does Horace know that when the partygoers gather for the banquet,...more
This was such a beautiful and fun book. The kids loved it. They enjoyed racing to find each clock in each picture. We are going to meet at dinner tonight to share our discovery of "who dunnit". And cheesecake for dessert in honor of the book.
Whitney Garner
I LOOOVVVEE THIS BOOK!! I remember reading this as a kid, but I couldn't remember the name of the book. I was looking for a storytime book and I ran across it!! It is amazing! A children's version of Clue (how can you say no to that?)
Lacy Lovelace
I hold this book very near and dear to my heart! I found it at my great-grandmother's house and would look at it and read it all of the time! She finally gave it to me the last time I saw her. I always loved looking at the pictures. They are very intricate and beautiful! A very cute story about animals getting ready to have a party.
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Graeme Rowland Base is a successful Australian author and artist of picture books that have been sold internationally. He is perhaps best known for his second book, Animalia published in 1986, and third book The Eleventh Hour which was released in 1989.
He was born in England but moved to Australia with his family at the age of eight and has lived there ever since. He attended Box Hill High School...more
More about Graeme Base...
Animalia The Discovery of Dragons The Water Hole The Sign of the Seahorse Uno's Garden

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