7 Ate 9 is a delightful tale of an anthropomorphic private “I” Al F. Bet, who is alerted by a distraught anthropomorphic “6” that “7 ate 9!” Our hero I leaps into action, using his detective skills to discover the truth and locate the missing number. Author Tara Lazar offers a story that works on its face for young readers. The mystery and fast pacing will keep little hands turning pages. Young readers will learn not to make assumptions or jump to conclusions. Despite being digits, the characters demonstrate distinct personalities. Lastly, the story is chock full of number-based word play, offering adults entertainment as well, e.g., “I” stops at Cafe Uno for a slice of pi.

“I’ve really got to change my number.”

The artwork is simple and charming, complementing the story with brightly colored large block numbers and letters possessing rosie-cheeked faces, stick limbs, and bits of clothing, like ties, belts, hats, and shoes.

The trend of inanimate picture book characters is here to stay. 7 Ate 9 is one for the books!