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. But it is, as Base points out, the thrill of the chase that matters most; and on this count the work scores high marks.
One of my favourite books. Gorgeously illustrated (of course) and genuinely challenging without being TOO hard. Even if you have to cheat and look up the answer, there's still so much to look at on a second (or third, or fourth) read. This is one of those books that I like more and more as I get older.