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The Numberlys: 06/25/16
The Numberlys by William Joyce is a picture book about numeracy and literacy. Life for the numbers is orderly, regimented, and predictable. It's also dull as dishwater.
So the five intrepid heroes decide to do some civic disobedience. They take hammers and other tools to the numbers around them, to change them into something different.
Out of the chaos of creative expression comes a new way of expressing things: letters and thus words. With them comes color, names, and self expression.
Stylistically it's a gorgeous book. As dystopian, it's decent homage to Fritz Lang's Metropolis. I think it will appeal to children who have learned their numbers one to ten and are ready to learn their letters or maybe try their hand at reading.
But there's the nagging feeling that it's implying math is boring. That is an unfortunate side effect of this book. Math isn't boring. It isn't cut and dry, black and white. It requires the same sort of creativity as music or poetry to really make it work.