The Numberlys

 
Imaginative tale of inventing alphabet fosters creativity.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The Numberlys promotes engagement with numbers and letters, but in a way that's meant to entertain more than educate.

Positive messages

Positive messages about the rewards of creativity and process, and the joy and wonderment associated with discovery in art-making. It also promotes a positive view of changing things up, even when it goes against the grain of the orderly status quo.

Positive role models

Characters are simplistic, but depicted as hardworking, creative, and group-oriented.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that William Joyce's The Numberlys is an imaginative chronicle of a group of friends who create the alphabet in a land once ruled by stuffy numbers. It's a great book for highlighting the process of making art, the getting-your-hands-dirty aspect of creation, and the thrill of discovering new things through work and creative spark. The book is based on the engaging, award-winning Numberlys app

What's the story?

Once upon a time there were only numbers, and numbers were getting pretty boring. So a group of five friends decided to shake things up and mix them around. When they got to work, at first it was pretty messy. But then, something started to take shape, and the shape looked a lot like A, B, and C.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

THE NUMBERLYS is a delightful take on the creation of the alphabet by friends who get tired of the status quo and decide to rejigger it. As a book dedicated to the memory of German filmmaker Fritz Lang, the book's black-and-white and color multimedia illustrations, with their sharp, lean lines and futuristic, industrial style, give a clear nod to his masterpiece Metropolis, the art deco movement, and German expressionism. But all that high art aside, it's a fun, imaginative book that will get kids thinking about where letters come from and how creativity works, with an appreciation for taking risks in art. 

Art-leaning kids will get a kick out the idea of making numbers out of nothing, and parents can appreciate the book's finer art heritage as well as the simple message that resonates with any budding learner of the alphabet.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about making new things. Have you ever decided to make something new? What was it? How did you come up with it? What's your "process" for thinking up new ideas?

  • Have you played the Numberlys app? How do you think the book compares? 

  •  

  • Making things can get messy. What's the biggest art mess you've ever made? Was it fun to get messy in the process of making something fun?

Book details

Author:William Joyce
Illustrator:Christina Ellis
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Arts and dance, Numbers and letters
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Atheneum
Publication date:May 27, 2014
Number of pages:56
Publisher's recommended age(s):3 - 7
Read aloud:3 - 5
Read alone:6 - 7
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, App

This review of The Numberlys was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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