Q: What is the solution to the unnamed book by Kit Williams?

A: The title is "The Bee on the Comb."

In the first picture, there are two "hybrid" animals, one half-mouse, half-horse, the other half-cat, half-toad. If you've read "Masquerade", the drawings remind you of the circle of animals in one of the pictures in that book, and there's even a footnote there explaining the names of the animals in that picture. Using the same reasoning, the two animals in "The Bee on the Comb" ought to be called a "morse" and a "coad". So the obvious conclusion is that this is a clue indicating that Morse code is involved. The Morse code is around the frame of the gardening picture, and spells out "All animals are equal in a tale of tail to tail, end to end to end." This is the same message that is around the picture in "Masquerade."

Each picture in "The Bee on the Comb" contains a hidden animal. Ignore all the naturalistic animals: you're looking just for one animal hidden in some visually punning way. For example, in the first picture, there's a parrot hidden in the young man's vest--turn the page upside down and the leaves pictured on his vest become the parrot's feathers.

If you write down all fifteen hidden animals and take their last letters, "end to end to end", it spells out "The Bee on the Comb". I recall that we found the hidden animal in the picture on the kitchen (the one with the box of Oxo cubes on the mantle) particularly difficult to find, though I expect that'll vary from person to person. The hidden animals are wonderfully cleverly hidden. Oh, and the animal ending in C is rather obscure; I think we had to figure out its name only after we'd figured out the title of the book and knew it ended in C.

If you count the number of bees in each picture and convert it to letters, using A = 1, B = 2, etc., you get "Bees Only Sting". By looking at the honeycomb that obscures the title on the cover, you can see how many letters the words in the title contain, and "Bees Only Sting" does not work.

There's at least one other indication that the bees are a red herring. The fourth line from the end of the text reads "the bees they are of little consequence." I'm not positive that this isn't a coincidence, but it sure looks like it might be a message to ignore the bees.

Scott Marley hudu@well.sf.ca.us

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