The Story of Number Nine
(Young Reader's Book)
What's it about.
If Numbers had a life, what story would they tell? What personality would each number possess? What lessons would they teach us?
Number Nine, although a smart and intellectual chap (with a big head), is frustrated about his position as the last number on Infinity Island. He sets off on a journey across his mystical home to prove his worth to the other numbers. Driven by ambition (and also insecurity) and using his intellect, he succeeds but only to realise that a person's significance is not found in how big or small you are. This happens when an enigmatic Number Ten (They call him Perfect Ten) appears.
This short story is a picture book that will teach children the value of a person, big or small, and seeks to celebrate the differences that we all have. This is done through the metaphorical use of 'Numbers' as characters in a story, with each Number possessing a personality trait that bears resemblance to everyday people in our communities. By employing this technique of personification, the Numbers will also help to encourage empathy in a fun and creative way.
The 3,900-word story also aims to creatively imagine the origins of different idioms (At Sixes and Sevens, On all Fours, On Cloud Nine... etc.), using situations that the different Numbers would experience. This provides learning opportunities for young kids to better understand these idioms and express themselves better. The book is also illustrated to captivate young readers and spur their imagination. Each Number Character will bear resemblance to actual numbers in their form and posture.
Why do I need funding?
I intend to self-publish this short story book. The bulk of the donations will be used for printing costs.
In addition, there are plans to use the book to raise funds for TOUCH Community Services (to be confirmed).
Sample Chapter / Copyright 2015 Josiah Ng
Every morning, as the sun rose on the island, its 9 inhabitants would arise from their slumber to greet the day.
Number One was singular in all that he did and could never understand the fuss about spending time with another.
His neighbour, Number Two, was slightly older and her kindness was a constant inspiration to everyone else.
Number Three and Number Five were the best of friends, always seen as a pair in their adventurous escapades around the island. Number Three had a certain inferiority complex but drew strength from hanging out with Number Five, who was said to be the most balanced and confident of all on the island.
Number Seven and Number Eight were an old religious couple and one could say that they were a match-made in heaven, if only they could agree on which ‘heaven’ was the right one.
'My dear, I’m asking you to believe in the Divine Mathematician because then, we could see each other in heaven,' Number Seven would argue passionately, but with all the love that he could try to display. He did this so often to everyone else too, so much so that the islanders started to give him the moniker, Seven-Heaven.
'No, no, no, you silly, if you’re going to be so childish about this all the time, no one is going to burn you these offerings in future. Besides, I’ve been such a prosperous number because of this!' Number Eight would retort as she gently placed joss paper in a red brazier.
Number Four was an accident-magnet. A tree root, the side of a chair, a stone, a flying bee, anything and everything would take turns to cause the clumsy boy to fall flat on his face in an instant. So unfortunate was his predicament, that those around the island coined the idiom, on all fours, to describe someone toppling over himself and kissing the ground.
Number Six was a mischievous one, but we’ll get to him a little later. And then there was Number Nine.
Number Nine was a thinking fellow and a man of great intellect. That morning, as he was doing his usual thinking, he started to convince himself about being shown greater reverence by everyone on the island.
'Finally, I wouldn’t be known as the last Number on this island,' thought Number Nine to himself. He thus decided to pay Number One a visit at his apartment, and knocked hard on the door a few times, nine to be exact.
Number One, a single guy with unlikely visitors, jumped to his feet at the sudden din outside his door.
'I am Number Nine and I am better than you are because you are only Number One,' yelled Number Nine to Number One from outside the door.
'Better? But I am known to be the best in everything I do, I am Number One.' Number One politely responded as he opened the door.
Number Nine looked up at the towering Number One who stood a head taller than him by the doorway. With a sense of great impatience, Number Nine said, 'even so, I am greater than you are, so you will always do as I tell you from now on, and with the utmost perfection that you have been known for.’
'Greater than I am?' quizzed Number One.
'Yes, you see, I am 9 times the Number that you are, and that too means 9 times of your excellence.'
Number One thought about this for a single beat and with his excellent logic, concluded that Number Nine made much sense after all. 'Very well then, you have my service, Number Nine.'
Satisfied, Number Nine then decided to visit Number Two in her garden.