I’m taking my cue for my Poetry Friday post today from my daughter. She came home very excited about a book she encountered at school called The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base (Stoddart, 1988). Get it out of the library for me, she insisted and so I did. The copy was well-worn and tattered, obviously a book enjoyed by many. A truly interactive book, The Eleventh Hour, in rhyming quatrains, sets out a mystery for the reader to solve through clues found on each of the elaborately illustrated pages. Horace, the elephant has turned eleven, and has invited all his friends to a birthday gathering at his estate. There will be a tremendous feast to be served at the eleventh hour — however, while the guests spend the day doing various activities, someone consumes the entire banquet, leaving nothing but crumbs for the hungry guests at 11:00. Who has eaten all the goodies? You the reader, must find out by deciphering all the clues found on each page. A key at the back will help you if you are really stumped.
My daughter and I spent a Saturday afternoon together with this book, trying to figure out the clues. It was tough, but fun! Similar to his earlier Animalia which my daughter also enjoyed, this book is all about looking closely and in that way, reminded me a little of Anno Mitsumasa’s picture books. If you and your child like a real good puzzle and figuring out clues, then this is the book for you. And the rhymes aren’t all that bad either!