–by Becky Michael
I believe that numbers do embody something magical, which is probably a reason that the name Platform Number 4 felt like a good omen for my new blog. Countless authors of books and stories have based their titles or premises on something to do with numbers. Names of books range all the way from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Ken Kesey) to One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez), with Catch-22 (Joseph Heller) and Nineteen Minutes (Jodi Picoult) situated somewhere in between. They also include books for kids like Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (Judy Blume) and The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins (Dr. Seuss). The use of numbers as an actual concept is often quite subtle, sometimes showing up in novels built around elaborate codes and intriguing clues. Stories about multiples, likes twins and triplets, also seem to have wide appeal.
I never excelled in math, but numbers have always drawn me in like a magnet. I appreciate the logic, order and preciseness they can offer, or the mystery that often surrounds them. Accordingly, that same idea can help to build a framework for an author’s creation. My early chapter book, for which I’ve recently completed yet another full edit, features a little girl who’s hooked on numbers in the slightly OCD sense. I’ve had fun showing how powerful numbers are for her, including the negatives. My lucky number as a child wasn’t 4, but another one close enough to “touch”, and it remains a favorite to this day.