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Literature / The Numberlys

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The Numberlys is a children's book by William Joyce.

In another world, everything is grey and orderly, and everyone lives out their lives in complete uniformity. In this world, people use numbers to identify everything. From people, to places, to things, it's all numbers, numbers, numbers.

Problem is, some people just aren't satisfied with that. Namely, five little kids. So, one day, they set out to create something new. Something nobody has ever tried.

Not to be confused with The Numberlies, a similarly named series of children's books that are also about numbers (anthropomorphic numbers, specifically).


The Numberlys contains examples of:

  • Deliberately Monochrome: The World of the Numberlys is all black and white until the alphabet's invented.
  • Inventor of the Mundane: Five kids set out to create something new for the world. That something ultimately is the letters of the alphabet.
  • Monochrome to Color: When the recently-invented letters start spelling words and settling in the world, color follows when some of those words spell their names.
  • You Are Number 6: Everyone and everything in this world is identified by numbers. That changes when five kids invent the alphabet.