Sunday, February 4, 2018

Take a Vacation with 7 Ate 9

There are so many books that I love and want to share.
It's been hard picking just one for each post and hardest to pick the very first.
I've carefully selected a book by a wonderful writer, generous speaker, and brilliant blogger.  

Tara Lazar's clever and hilarious 7 Ate 9, illustrated by Ross MacDonald, is a mystery that begins when Number 6 approaches a "Private I" to help him find out why Number 7 is always following him.  And why wouldn't he be scared, when rumor has it that 7 Ate 9? 

The book is packed with numerical and visual puns, word play, and mathematical jokes. Lines like "I knew about this 7 fella. He was odd" and "I fear my days are numbered" add to the fun but don't detract from the mystery for either readers who might not get all the jokes yet or those who are lucky enough to catch them all! 
And after a second reading I was still finding new ones:

Note the P- shaped pie at Cafe Uno
The Private I's door reads "Al F. Bet".  (Alef and Bet are the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet.)

The illustrations have a clever retro feel and Ross MacDonald's characters remind me of charming vintage advertisements. He sneaks in as many jokes as he can right down to the Pi shaped pie at the diner.  

This is a wonderful book for inspiring art projects.  
My eye immediately went to the part in the story in which 7 shows off his book of vacation photos of his trip sailing the 7 Seas.  (I'm trying really hard not to give away any spoilers here so you better go read this book now in case I seriously trip up!)
I thought it would be fun to have the young artists create their own book.  They had the option of using their age repeatedly, their favorite numbers, or the letters in their name.
I downloaded vintage postcards and printed them out

  • Paper (large paper cut into long postcard-height strips)
  • Tape, Scissors, and Glue Sticks
  • Drawing supplies of choice
  • Print-out of Vintage Postcard (optional)
  • Pre-Cut letters (optional)
The craft coordinator has the option of finding out the artists' names and ages in advance and pre-cutting the block letters out of card stock.   It helps when working with time constraints. Personally I find hand drawn letters to be charming so with my small group of Artists I did precut the letters and numbers but I explained that they had the option to draw the letters and left it to their preference.

The artists, age 5-9 all really enjoyed the book (thank you to friend Susan for doing such a fabulous reading!) and there were a lot of laughs.

I explained that they were making postcard books, just as "7" did in the story.

They all chose to use the pre-cut numbers and letters and they all understood that the letters and numbers represented characters.

There were a variety of vacations drawn, some on the slopes,

                        and some tropical.

Some with monkeys,

                     some with wheels.

All of them wonderful.   Thank you to the creative and talented volunteer artists who brought this
7 Ate 9 project to life!

Soon to come: I have several upcoming posts.  One book is all about expressing love and one is to honor Black History month.

If you have a book you would like me to review and have a talented young Artist be inspired by, please contact me in the "CONTACT PAULA" section or by leaving a comment.  


  1. They did a really nice job! Have you considered maybe putting these ideas as little packs on Teachers Pay Teachers? I know that I look there sometimes for ideas of what to do with books I'm reading, and you might get more of a following. Just a suggestion =)

  2. Great idea, Danielle. I didn't know about that. I'll look into it once I get more posts up!

  3. So much fun! I want to make one too...