Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: Abel's Island by William Steig

Synopsis: 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. (from the online description)

Review: This is a pleasant read with more depth than I expected. The character of Abel is well-written - he has flaws, but isn't reprehensible, he is spoiled, but teachable and he learns reacts to his predicament with courage, perseverance and intelligence. I recommend this book to young kids, in particular boys. It would make an excellent conversation starter about survival, tenacity, and what really matters. 

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year (1976), Newbery Honor Book (1977)

ISBN: None
Date Published: 1976
Date Finished: 5-1-2014
Pages: 119

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