Monday, June 12, 2017


7 Ate 9: The Untold Story, written by Tara Lazar and illustrated by Ross MacDonald, is a clever mystery and a great book to read aloud in your classroom.

After you read 7 Ate 9 to your students, you can use it as a fun writing prompt for the classroom. Here are a few writing suggestions:

1) The author, Tara Lazar, took an old joke (“Why is 6 afraid of 7?” “Because 7 ate/8 9!”) and turned it into the plot of a book. Can you take a joke and turn it into a story? Use one of these jokes, or any other joke you like:
-“Why did the chicken cross the road?” “To get to the other side!”
-“How do you catch a fish without a fishing rod?” “You use your BEAR hands!”
-“What is it called when a cat wins a dog show?” “A CAT-astrophe!”

2) This book is positively FILLED with puns and plays on words.
Here are just a few:
-Private “I”
-I orders a slice of “pi”
-7 is described as “odd”
How many other puns and plays on words can you find in this book? Check the illustrations too! Make a list as a class.

3) 7 Ate 9 is a mystery story. Try writing your own mystery story. Before you start writing, organize your thoughts. How does the mystery begin? Is there a missing person or item? Who will solve the mystery in your story? What clues can you sprinkle into your story so that the mystery can be solved?

4) Ross MacDonald managed to draw numbers in a way that gives each one lots of personality. You try! Draw a number and give it hands, feet, and a face, like in the book. You can add clothes or any other touches you like. Now write a few sentences describing the personality of your number. What foods and activities does your number like? Dislike? Who are your number’s friends? Does your number have a pet?

5) Write your own ending to 7 Ate 9. Instead of 9 turning out to be 6, and 6 trying to frame 7…what else could happen? You decide! Think of a different solution to the mystery and write it down.

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