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Abel's Island (Newbery Award & Honor Books) Paperback – October 2, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 920L (What's this?)
  • Series: Newbery Award & Honor Books
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; Reprint edition (October 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312371438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312371432
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

One summer day, newlywed mice Abel and Amanda are out for a picnic in the woods when they are caught in a sudden storm--a "full-fledged, screaming hurricane" to be precise. As they take refuge in a cave, a wind scoops up Amanda's scarf, and Abel foolishly lunges from safety to retrieve it. So begins William Steig's Newbery Honor Book Abel's Island, the ensuing adventures of this rather foppish mouse as he comes head to head with nature. Amazingly, Abel is swept up in a stream, then a river, then eventually marooned on an island (about 12,000 tails long). He is sure that his rescue is imminent: "It's certainly gotten around that Abelard Hassam di Chirico Flint, of the Mossville Flints, is missing," the society mouse speculates. But he is not so lucky. What will this intelligent, imaginative rodent do to get off the island and back to his beloved Amanda? He busies himself with finding ways to get to shore (including bridges, boats, catapults, stepping stones, and gliders); figuring out what he should eat (everything from mulberries to roasted seeds); and investigating where he should take shelter (in a rotten log). As the weeks and months go by, he misses his books, his paintings, his comfortable stuffed chair, his stylish clothes (now damp, torn, and lumpy), but above all his precious wife Amanda, whom he thinks about constantly. As the mouse faces his new life Robinson Crusoe-style, Abel discovers what it's like to be in tune with the natural world as well as his true nature, and what it's like to return, fortified, to his real home and to the arms of the one he loves. Along the way, readers can't help but rediscover the joys of being alive. (Ages 8 and older, but an engaging read-aloud for younger children, too) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“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

More About the Author

William Steig (1907-2003) published his first children's book, Roland the Minstrel Pig, in 1968, and received the Caldecott Medal for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (978-1416902065) in 1970. His works also include The Amazing Bone, a Caldecott Honor Book, and Abel's Island and Doctor De Soto, both Newbery Honor Books. His most recent books published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux are Shrek! (released by DreamWorks as a major motion picture) and Wizzil, illustrated by Quentin Blake. School Library Journal named Shrek! a Best Book of 1990 and said of it, "Steig's inimitable wit and artistic dash have never been sharper or more expertly blended."

Customer Reviews

This book is great read to kids, or just for fun.
Susan
This a wonderful illustrated and written selection by William Steig.
momsolokc
Dear Reader, I am 11 years old and I love this book.
Steven Hill

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Susan Zuckerman on December 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I read this to my Grade 4 students at the beginning of every school year, and they are totally entranced by it. Even though Abel is a newly married adult mouse, it is a very much a story geared to the growing independence of 8 to 10 year olds. Stranded on an island for a year, the snobby, cultured Abel, who dearly loves champagne and caviar, must learn to eat wild foods and fend for himself.
William Steig's books are always surprisingly complex once you delve a little beneath the surface. Abel discovers a new part of his true mouse self, a base, wild creature who survives on seeds and nuts and can gnaw his way through wood. But he also develops his artistic talents as a sculptor and thus needn't depend on Mommy's wealth any more when he finally returns to society. There is delightful interplay here between seemingly contradicting messages: Must one learn to accept one's true nature? Or must we go through trials and challenges to develop our "civilized" talents?
An aspect of Steig's writing that never fails to captivate children is that he doesn't write "down" to them. He challenges them to new levels of sophistication, and children respond wholeheartedly to this. He uses lots of very big, fancy words, which never slow the story down or make it too difficult, but intrigue children more and more about language.
A great "while reading" strategy is to make a chart to record the problem, the solutions tried, and the results. The main problem is that Abel is stranded on an island. He tries many, many solutions, and they all fail until the very last one. Having this on a chart makes clear to kids that one must often try over and over until one succeeds, but NEVER GIVE UP TRYING! And, maybe even enjoy the meantime!
I would highly recommend this as a book to read and discuss with children, however, it makes a wonderful book to read independently as it is short and has great pictures.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
It started out as a slow book but it got better.

Abel's island was a good book. Abel's Island is about a small mouse who gets stranded on an island while trying to save a scarf for his new wife in a hurricane, and the wind drags him to a piece of wood that has a rusted nail sticking out of it. Then the piece of wood drags him off to a river that has a waterfall at the end of it. He falls down the waterfall and gets so tired that he just falls asleep, then when he wakes up Abel finds himself on a mysterious island (1,200 tails long). He finds himself stuck in a tree and he is so hungry that he takes a leaf and starts chewing on it "Mmm cherry branch", Abel says.

He thinks of a way to use the piece of wood as a fort that he can stay in. Then he thinks that he could turn it upside down and push it down about a tail and sleep under it. But soon he finds out that it will easily fall away so he walks around the island and finds an old rotten log that he can sleep in. So he gathers a bunch of seeds that he can eat and plants like grapes he can squeeze the juice out of and drink it. He finds a little hole that he can put the seeds in and finds another room he can put shutters and the milkweed in. He fixes up the milkweed and he makes a bed.

And so begins Abel's adventure on the island.

William Steig made a great book it shows that evn if you're lost dont try to give up hope.

I had to read this in Mrs.vacciano's book club in the fifth grade and i'm glad she's my teacher this year!!!!!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "iloveprovence" on June 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am an adult, but I love well written children's books. They can pack mystery, adventure, and other genre, but are quicker reads. Abel's Island is an outstanding example of the perfect children's book for adults. Newly married and stylish, Abel gets swept away in a rain storm when he attempts to retrieve his bride's lovely scarf. After nearly drowning, and soaked to the bone, Abel finds himself on a remote island and can't find a way off. Many months go by while Abel attempts unending schemes to gain the mainland. His discoveries about himself are much in the same vein as Robinson Crusoe and Hatchet. He learns to fend for himself in a vast wilderness, yet never gives in to the possibility of never returning to his loved one. She is his vision that keeps him focused on his only goal. She is his Mecca. A delicate adventure and love story for anyone over eight years of age..
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Hi I'm Courtney.I read this book in my fourth grade class. I highly recommend this book because it has great word choice, organization, voice and thoose are William Steig's best six traits in this particular book.It felt like it was coming out and grabbing my heart.At the begining your scared because Abel gets lost.In the middle Abel has a sieres of events and adventures. He might even meet some friends. Some parts I feel that William Steig was making you feel so emotional and that he himself William Steig was coming out and taking your heart then putting it in the book. Well those were my feelings and emotions about Abel's Island.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Oddsfish VINE VOICE on May 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Abel's Island by William Steig is truly one of the best children's books that has been produced. Any person, young or old, can learn from this beautiful little novel and be moved by it.
It is the story of Abel, a mouse who one day is separated from his wife by a terrible storm. Abel had been a rich, secure mouse in his former life. But in his new life, alone on an island, he learns to challenge himself. His experiences give him great insights into his true being. He also learns to appreciate that he really had in his former life, especially the love of his wife.
The plot is very simple to the novel. Abel has to survive and try to get back to his wife. It is very Robinson Crusoesque. But the novel is told with such warmth and humor that the reader is totally enraptured by this tale. The prose is so beautiful, the character's so endearing, and the insights are so great that no one who reads it will ever forget it. I just finished carrying it around for a couple of days on a college campus while I was rereading it, and it was seen and remembered by so many of my fellow students who cherished as students. Any child should read this as should any adult.
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