My entire family is a sucker for a good puzzle – not actual puzzles (except my sister), but figuring things out. We were that kind of family that actually had family game night. We played board games regularly – we still do when we get together for more than an afternoon. And we didn’t play your normal games. Sure, us kids would play Mousetrap and Kerpluk and whatnot. But as a family we played weird games. The two I remember the most are National Geographic Pursuit – or something like that, I can’t remember the exact name – you answered trivia questions and built a world map, and Bazaar, you’re essentially in an Indian Bazaar and you have to barter to get the jewels you need to complete your card.
This is quickly turning into a throwback to board games, but what I’m getting at is that we liked to do this kind of stuff together. So, when my parents picked up Graeme Base’s book, The Eleventh Hour it was something we worked on together. I was probably too old, but meh, it wasn’t like I was running out and telling my friends about it. I can’t remember when my parents bought the book, but I think it may have been for my brother’s eleventh birthday. But it was originally published in 1988, so it may have been earlier than that.
This book is still sitting at my parent’s house and we pulled it out last year to look at with my nephews. We only looked at a couple pages. I think they were a little young at the time, but maybe this year. I think they would really like it. And the artwork is amazing.
The book is about an elephant’s birthday where someone steals the feast. The reader’s job is to figure out who the thief is. There are other mysteries buried in there and things you have to find – like a certain number of mice hidden in each of the pictures, if memory serves me correctly. If you have kids, you should probably try to get your hands on this. It’s something you can all work on together or the kids can do on their own. And the mystery is hard enough that it’s not boring for adults.