- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 6
- Lexile Measure: 920L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (May 1, 1976)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374300100
- ISBN-13: 978-0374300104
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 110 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Abel's Island Hardcover – May 1, 1976
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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
“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
“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.” ―Starred, Booklist
“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.” ―Starred, School Library Journal
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A lovely picnic turns wet and stormy, and a loving husband, who happens to be mouse, is separated from his beloved because he chases her scarf, blown off by the raging wind. It is unclear if his scarf retrieval is an act of chivalry, or obsessive possessiveness. Possibly both. This one grand gesture winds up marooning this husband for a year, on an island, as he longs to make his way back to his wife mouse.
A re-telling of the Odyssey, it works with charm and none of the literary hang-ups of writers who worry about too much tell (it's mostly that) or lowering the vocabulary to kid-friendly words. The result is a small masterpiece.
It is perhaps even more beautiful than "Dominic" was. Good enough to make this reader cry a bit (in joy) at the end. The story is about Abel, a distinguished mouse, who gets swept away in a flood and marooned on an island while trying to fetch a scarf that flew off his beloved wife's neck. After a few failed attempts to escape the island, Abel is forced to rely on himself to survive until he can figure out how to get back to his family. He keeps his wife's scarf around his neck to give him strength.
This is a story that will be equally enjoyed by a young child and the parent reading it to him or her; and the themes of love, beauty and strength of character are lessons that can be appreciated by someone of any age.