Abel's Island

Paperback | October 2, 2007

byWilliam SteigIllustratorWilliam Steig

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Abel's place in his familiar, mouse world has always been secure; he had an allowance from his mother, a comfortable home, and a lovely wife, Amanda. But one stormy August day, furious flood water carry him off and dump him on an uninhabited island. Despite his determination and stubborn resourcefulness-he tried crossing the river with boats and ropes and even on stepping-stones-Abel can't find a way to get back home.

Days, then weeks and months, pass. Slowly, his soft habits disappear as he forages for food, fashions a warm nest in a hollow log, models clay statues of his family for company, and continues to brood on the problem of how to get across the river-and home.

Abel's time on the island brings him a new understanding of the world he's separated from. Faced with the daily adventure of survival in his solitary, somewhat hostile domain, he is moved to reexamine the easy way of life he had always accepted and discovers skills and talents in himself that hold promise of a more meaningful life, if and when he should finally return to Mossville and his dear Amanda again.


Abel's Island is a 1976 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year and Outstanding Book of the Year, and a 1977 Newbery Honor Book.

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From the Publisher

Abel's place in his familiar, mouse world has always been secure; he had an allowance from his mother, a comfortable home, and a lovely wife, Amanda. But one stormy August day, furious flood water carry him off and dump him on an uninhabited island. Despite his determination and stubborn resourcefulness-he tried crossing the river with...

William Steig (1907-2003) was a cartoonist, illustrator and author of award-winning books for children, including Shrek!, on which the DreamWorks movies are based. Steig was born in New York City. Every member of his family was involved in the arts, and so it was no surprise when he decided to become an artist. He attended City Colleg...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:128 pages, 7.62 × 5.19 × 0.44 inPublished:October 2, 2007Publisher:Square FishLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312371438

ISBN - 13:9780312371432

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

Customer Reviews of Abel's Island

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Don't Miss This Classic While on a picnic, a storm rises and Abel and his wife, Amanda, along with others find shelter in a cave. Amanda's scarf blows off and Abel chases after it, but the storm is too much now and he is blown down the hill, into a river, over a waterfall, and eventually lands on a small deserted island. Abel, who has led a quiet, work-free, rich life up to this point now must work for his survival in an unknown landscape. This is a beautiful story. Abel learns so much about life from being on his own and having to work to survive. At first he desperately tries to escape but the swift flowing river stops him every time. He logically devises ways to cross but as time goes by his ideas become more outlandish until he realizes the only way off is to survive and wait for help. As this dandy rises to the challenges of his new life he begins to actually enjoy his life and starts to wonder what he will do when (he never loses hope) he gets back home as he does not want to give up this new found life of labour. I found the story heart-warming, with a message to never give up and to keep your faith even in the hardest of times. The 8yo loved it as well and he thought it was hilarious and exciting. I read this as child but this is the first time I've re-read it and it makes me want to re-read some more of Steig's books.
Date published: 2008-08-15

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Editorial Reviews

"There was no trouble in locating the best book of the year, William Steig's Abel's Island . . . Abelard is, one hopes, all of us-proud, resourceful, despairing, persevering and, eventually, triumphant. And so is Mr. Steig triumphant in the quality of his prose-nor has he stinted on the quality and quantity of his illustrations." -George A. Woods, The New York Times"Abel's adventures are presented with Steig's usual grace, warmth, and insight, and the delights of the text are further enhanced by his drawings. On all counts, it's a winner." -School Library Journal, Starred Review"With inimitable style, Steig tells the story of a mouse, Abelard Hassam di Chirico Flint, who gets swept away in a driving rainstorm while rescuing his wife's scarf and winds up stranded on a river island for a year. Abel isn't just a mouse. He's a fastidious Edwardian dandy whose inherited wealth ensures the leisurely comforts he takes such pleasure in. But Abel's high-toned life of leisure conceals a soul full of true grit: once faced with the necessity of surviving. Abel rises to the challenge." -Booklist, Starred Review"Abel is a classic Steig hero: amiable, dignified, polite and given to moments of brave self-understanding that cause him to rise to desperate challenges. Steig's lively use of metaphor makes his books a joy to read aloud." -The Wall Street Journal"It's not only for kids that Steig's work offers revelations. He's one of those writers whose observations one can contemplate at different ages with different insights. In Abel's Island, Abel, a mouse accustomed to a life of luxury, is wrenched from his beloved wife by a violent storm and spends a year as a castaway, sustained only by his desire to return to her. . . . It's a deep meditation on time and endurance." -Los Angeles Times"Whatever child likes The Bat-Poet or Charlotte's Web will love the way Steig uses our language and will want to relive Abel's odyssey on many a rainy Sunday afternoon." -Rosemary Wells, The Washington Post Book World