"Once upon a time there was no alphabet, no jellybeans, no names... only numbers."

The Numberlys - William Joyce, Christina Ellis

"And soon something  ABSOLUTELY, BRILLIANTLY, CHEERFUL started to happen..."

This book is a work of art.  It is gorgeous from cover to cover.  The story starts in a world of only numbers.  Its orderly, there's no color, only black and white numbers.  Then the five heroes wanted something different, and began putting numbers together and changing them into letters.  This brings about color and flavor and fun unto the world, and the full-page illustrations express that beautifully.  I also love that after you open the book, you realize that most of the text and illustrations are arranged so that the book is held vertically or horizontally, changing back and forth randomly.  This book beautifully conveys the importance of letters and words and books and reading in making the world wonderful.  I also love the underlying theme that being different is good, and to "be happy!" This book is perfect for kindergarten and 1st grade classes, when students are beginning to learn letters and words and reading.  I would read this book aloud to my class, taking time to show the artwork.  I would make copies of the pages where the letters become present.  I would hand these pages out after the read aloud.  For a kindergarten class, I would have them use crayons to trace every occurance of specific letters, and for 1st graders, I would have them make as many words as possible from the letters on the pages.  This book could possibly be read aloud to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders to show deeper themes of being different and being happy.