The Numberlysby William Joyce, Christina Ellis Published 27 May 2014
|Publisher||Atheneum Books for Young Readers|
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From the team who brought you The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore comes an alphabet tale extraordinaire!
Once upon a time there was no alphabet, only numbers
Life was fine. Orderly. Dull as gray paint. Very numberly. But our five jaunty heroes weren't willing to accept that this was all there could be. They knew there had to be more.
So they broke out hard hats and welders, hammers and glue guns, and they started knocking some numbers together. Removing a piece here. Adding a piece there. At first, it was awful. But the five kept at it, and soon it was artful! One letter after another emerged, until there were twenty-six. Twenty-six letters - and they were beautiful. All colorful, shiny, and new. Exactly what our heroes didn't even know they were missing.
And when the letters entered the world, something truly wondrous began to happen: Pizza! Jelly beans! Color! Books!
Based on the award-winning app, this is William Joyce and Moonbot's Metropolis-inspired homage to everyone who knows there is more to life than shades of black and gray.
"The Numberlys" Reviews
William Joyce has a vision that is so grand in scope. This book is singular. It’s an easy beginner book and it’s really playing with the basic building blocks. There is a society that is very mechanic and industrial. It’s pretty dull and repetitious and full of only numbers and gruel. A group of 5 friends decide there should be something new. The come up with the ABCs.
Something I haven’t seen is that he has a long book that he pants the book on the side so you have to read the story top to bottom with very long pages so you can really see the scope of the buildings and world these Numberlys are in.
This is fantastic and amazing and I won’t say anymore about what is in it. You really need to check this out and see for yourself. It’s such a lovely surprise and visually stunning. This is a work of art and even though it’s for a young audience, the kids loved this book. They were wowed by it. They both gave it a resounding 5 stars. Both kids were amazed and wanted to read it again. It was an experience for them. William is a wunderkind. I think he has some amazing work being done at the moment.
Look, I think this is a pretty book with great illustrations and the story it tells is pretty decent, but I can't help but be upset by the whole thing. This entire book is about how the fact that numbers are BORING and we need LETTERS AND WORDS to bring magic into our lives and I just think that's totally unnecessary. We already have those books, we read those books all the time. There need to be more books about the enjoyment and the excitement of numbers because mathematics is not promoted or taught remotely well and here's another book that says math is BORING and words are LIFE. It's not like because I took calculus I am a gray world with no color until I start reading books or even that those two worlds are separated from each other. I mean seriously, what the hell. I know my opinion is biased because of my feelings on the subject and therefore I will reserve the stars, but it's still upsetting to me. We need more books that promote the integration of both words and numbers.
In a world where there are only numbers, everything is very orderly and neat. But it’s also very gray, even the food. Then five friends started to wonder if there was something more than numbers, something different! So they started inventing and they slowly came up with letters. And when they reached the final letter Z, things started to change. Color entered their dreary lives as the letters fell into place. Once the letters formed words, real changes started and the entire world was flooded with color and yummy foods and possibilities.
Based on the app, this is a second picture book from the creators of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which also started as an app. Joyce creates a numeric and order-filled world reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984 in the first pages of the book. The text here is very simple, allowing most of the storytelling to be done by the illustrations. Joyce keeps a light hand here and uses humor to show how dark the world is. Who could imagine a world without jellybeans?
It is Ellis’ art that brings this world to life. Her orderly world has the feel of wooden toy soldiers and the five friends are wonderfully different and unique even before they invent the alphabet. The gray tones of the early part of the book give way to jellybean colors that jump on the page.
This celebration of words and books also examines the importance of independent thought and creativity. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
NOTE: Possible spoilers, but c'mon, it's a picture book.
Maybe I'm in a foul mood today or something, but I was soooo disappointed! This book looked adorable and the illustrations are really great, but the story fell flat. "They did something. They were tired, but happy. The end." WHAT?!?
Joyce is pretty much an automatic love for me. This one has a clear plastic dustjacket with the black and white numbers on it and a special surprise underneath. Gorgeous. The story concept is good, but really, this is just awesome art. I do not at all mind that he has a study full of newcomers learning from him. Not when the quality is this high.
The art is 5 stars, but the story is 1 star! As an English major, who loves art of all sorts, I see the (beautiful, many) shades of grey in a world without colors or language....but come on! A written language is wonderful, but the message here that numbers are not amazing and varied and INFINITELY beautiful is one gazillion percent erroneous.