Children's Lit Book Reviews
Monday, January 18, 2010
The Eleventh Hour
Publisher: Henry N. Abrams
Pages: 31 includes a bonus solutions packet
Reading Level: 9-12
Genre: Picture Book/Mystery
"A visual feast, ingeniously prepared."
- Parents Magazine
Summary: Horace, an elephant with many great friends, decides it is time for him and his friends to celebrate his recent eleventh birthday. Since he had once been eight and nine and six and even seven, he realizes that he could use this opportunity to throw a party since he's never been eleven before. Therefore, Horace with a great desire to impress his friends, plans to make this the grandest party ever concocted for a day of fun. This day will consist of eleven different foods such as pastries and cheesecake. It will also be fun filled with eleven different games for he and his eleven different guests to enjoy while they wait until the eleventh hour to come. After the party is planned and the invitations are sent, the great day arrives. Horace had his eleven friends come in costume, and the event begins. The guest see the food and are very eager for the eleventh hour to come.
Eventually, as the eleventh hour approaches, they all hurry to the dining room only to find that all the food had been eaten. With some quick changes, Horace is still able to continue his party by providing his guests with some sandwiches and a cake for everyone to share. As the reader then comes to the end, it is their duty to find out exactly who the thief was. That is what makes this book such a great one for all readers. Writer Graeme Base provides some helpful hints and tools at the end of this wonderful book to assist the reader in solving this most heinous crime. The most simple and obvious way is to count up eleven letters in the alphabet, and then that letter will be the first letter of the perpetrators name. Since "K" is the eleventh letter it easily matches up to a small mouse named Kilroy, and there is the thief revealed.
Who would benefit from reading this book?: In my opinion, every child and even an adult who happens to stumble across this book, will find great joy from it. This book was written for all ages and for those who are fanatics of mysteries, puzzles, mind tricks, and even clue solvers.
What problems/conflicts would this book potentially cause?: This book could be difficult for some beginner readers. For some, it could also be rather difficult to use the clues to solve the mystery. Definitely, it would be important for parents and teachers to help the with reading this book.
My reaction: I loved everything about this book. The illustrations were detailed and matched the text of the book. It never left me hanging, wondering what things looked like. Because of Graeme Base's great imagination, he will leave the readers searching for more.