Children’s Books: The Eleventh Hour

I wrote about Graeme Base some time back and I briefly mentioned his book “The Eleventh Hour” but I have not done it justice. After reading the story to G1 and G2 before bedtime one night, G1 was captivated enough to want to solve the puzzle the next day. We worked on a few of the puzzles together and I provided hints on the others. Even after all these years, I still enjoyed this book immensely. Looking back upon this book with wiser eyes, I can really appreciate the amount of detail and thought that went into its creation. Not to dedicate this book with its own post would be sacrilegious so here we are…

The Eleventh Hour

A book is read, a story ends, a telling tale is told.
But who can say what mysteries a single page may hold?
A maze of hidden codes and clues, a clock at every turn,
And only time will tell what other secrets you may learn…

Horace the elephant is turning 11 years old and he’s planning a splendid party to celebrate. He prepares a feast with eleven types of food, plans eleven party games to play, and invites ten animal friends to join him in his celebration. On the big day, all his animal friends attend in fancy dress. They arrive at Horace’s beautiful home and are tantalised by the delicious feast. Before they can taste the food, they have to play the games, for no one is to touch the food until the eleventh hour. Unfortunately, when the eleventh hour arrives, they discover that the food has vanished for someone has eaten it all!

Your task is to comb through the book to search for clues and decipher the puzzles to work out which guest ate all the food. There are lots of hidden clues in the pictures and the borders of each page. There are puzzles of all different kinds – Egyptian, Morse Code, Number codes, Letter codes, Musical notation, and more.

The eleventh hour

To find all the clues, you will have to turn the book upside-down, reflect it in a mirror, and look at it from different angles.

The illustrations on each page are inspired by real-world architecture and designs. For instance, the entrance hall shown below is based on the interior of St Peter’s in Rome.

Eleventh hour landmarks

The Eleventh Hour is such a clever book that I think it deserves a place on the book shelf of every child.


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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