Masquerade, by Englishman Kit Williams, was as much a source of pain and frustration around my house when I was a kid as it was a wealth of entertainment and hours of escape into a truly weird, lush, awe-inspiring, and often nightmarish place.
I say pain and frustration because this book is actually a very intricately designed treasure map that led to an ornately jeweled golden rabbit buried somewhere on public land in Great Britain, and although my family was rich with some of the highest levels of intelligence ever assembled under one suburban roof, we just couldn’t crack the code of the great lost treasure of Jack Hare.
Okay, so here’s the gist: in the book, the Moon Chick falls in love with the Sun Dude [articulate gender delineation mine], and crafts a beautiful gold pendant for him, sending her trusted subject Hare to deliver the amulet to her Apollonian crush. Jack Hare braves many wild and woolly adventures to fulfill his quest, only to find upon his arrival that he has lost the trinket del amor, leaving it to the reader to decipher the clues strewn throughout the magical and befuddling illustrations.
This riddle proved impossible for my family, and I’m pretty sure we had given up on solving it long before it was announced that someone had deciphered the puzzle and found the treasure. Of course, it turned out that the X marking the spot had been located through devious and cunning methods involving the former lover of Williams or somesuch. I’m not sure anyone would have figured it out in a reasonable timeframe, considering the solution rested in discovering that clues were revealed by drawing lines from the eyes of animals in the illustrations through the longest digit of the animal to letters on the borders. Or something.
At least it was pretty to look at.