As in Base's Animalia , his lush, intricately detailed illustrations in The Eleventh Hour comprise a sort of visual hide-and-seek. Here, the stakes are clues to the solution of a mystery: Who has surreptitiously eaten the feast prepared for Horace the Elephant's 11th birthday party? The culprit could be any of a number of exotically costumed animal guests, from a pig dressed as an admiral to a pair of giraffes in tutus to a zebra gone punk. The fun of poring over the pictures for hidden messages and significant particulars is, happily, matched by the enjoyment derived from the text--witty, ingenious verses that ably skirt the singsong or mundane. It will take an exceptionally persistent sleuth to deduce the thief's identity; many readers may resort to breaking the seal to the ``top secret'' solution. Thus enlightened, those returning to the scenes of the crime may still find some clues difficult to discern; in particular, the large number of concealed ``mice'' are almost impossible to make out. But it is, as Base points out, the thrill of the chase that matters most; and on this count the work scores high marks. All ages. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989 Release date: 09/01/1989 Genre: Children's
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