BOOK CLUB: THE ELEVENTH HOUR

a mystery perfect for 11/11/11.

Before Lost had us pausing and rewinding our DVRs, there was The Eleventh Hour, a mindfuck of a children's book by the artist Graeme Base.  The plot revolved around the seemingly innocent birthday party of Horace the Elephant, which took place on 11/11 at 11 o'clock in the morning, for eleven guests, including a tiger, a zebra, a mouse, and - my favorite - twin-sister giraffes.  (Naturally, Horace was turning - yes - eleven years old.)

But once you turned the pages, you realized each illustration was packed with hints, codes, secret languages, and a terrible twist: Horace's sumptuous birthday feast was stolen, and only by unraveling each page's mystery could you possibly find the culprit.  There was also a sealed portfolio in back of the book that revealed (almost) all of the secrets Mr. Base had concocted.

If you obsessed over this book as a child, it might be time to revisit the illustrated mystery, which will prove as fascinating and sly for your grown-up eyes as it did in your 4th grade bedroom.  And if you've never seen The Eleventh Hour before, we highly encourage you to check it out - with the warning that, much like Lost, you won't be able to stop twisting your brain for at least forty minutes.

And on that note - seriously - did any Eleventh Hour fans ever figure out the name of the Swan?!

The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery by Graeme Base.  $15 online.