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Abel's Island

Abel's Island

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Abel's Island

4.5/5 (13 valutazioni)
127 pagine
1 ora
Jul 30, 2013


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.

Jul 30, 2013

Informazioni sull'autore

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 College and the National Academy of Design. In 1930, Steig’s work began appearing in The New Yorker, where his drawings have been a popular fixture ever since. He published his first children's book, Roland the Minstrel Pig, in 1968. In 1970, Steig received the Caldecott Medal for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. His books for children also include Dominic; The Real Thief; The Amazing Bone, a Caldecott Honor Book; Amos & Boris, a National Book Award finalist; and Abel's Island and Doctor De Soto, both Newbery Honor Books. Steig's books have also received the Christopher Award, the Irma Simonton Black Award, the William Allen White Children's Book Award, and the American Book Award. His European awards include the Premio di Letteratura per l'infanzia (Italy), the Silver Pencil Award (the Netherlands), and the Prix de la Fondation de France. On the basis of his entire body of work, Steig was selected as the 1982 U.S. candidate for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for Illustration and subsequently as the 1988 U.S. candidate for Writing. Steig also published thirteen collections of drawings for adults, beginning with About People in 1939, and including The Lonely Ones, Male/Female, The Agony in the Kindergarten, and Our Miserable Life. He died in Boston at the age of 95.

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Anteprima del libro

Abel's Island - William Steig



Early in August 1907, the first year of their marriage, Abel and Amanda went to picnic in the woods some distance from the town where they lived. The sky was overcast, but Abel didn’t think it would be so inconsiderate as to rain when he and his lovely wife were in the mood for an outing.

They enjoyed a pleasant lunch in the sunless woods, sharing delicate sandwiches of pot cheese and watercress, along with hard-boiled quail egg, onions, olives, and black caviar. They toasted each other, and everything else, with a bright champagne which was kept cool in a bucket of ice. Then they played a jolly game of croquet, laughing without much reason, and they continued laughing as they relaxed on a carpet of moss.

When this happy nonsense got boring, Amanda crawled under a fern to read and Abel went off by himself for a bit. Roaming among the trees, admiring the verdure, he saw a crowd of daisies clustered above him, like gigantic stars, and decided to cut one down and present his wife with a pretty parasol.

He was already smiling at the little joke he would make as he held it over her head. He chose a perfect daisy and, using his handkerchief to avoid being soiled by the sap, carefully cut through the stem with his penknife.

The daisy over his shoulder, he sallied back toward his wife, very pleased with himself. It grew windy rather suddenly, and some rain fell, wherever it could through the foliage. It was hard to hold on to the flower.

His wife was under the fern exactly where he’d left her, absorbed in the life of her book. I have something for you, he said, lifting the tip of the fern. Amanda looked up at him with large, puzzled eyes, as if a page of words had unaccountably turned into her husband. A sharp gust of wind tore the daisy from his grasp.

It’s raining, Amanda observed.

Indeed it is! said Abel indignantly as the rain fell harder. It flailed down while they tried to gather their things. They huddled under Abel’s jacket, he offended at the thoughtless weather, she worried, both hoping the downpour would soon let up. It didn’t. It grew worse.

Tired of waiting, and of wondering where all that water came from, they decided to make a break for it. With the jacket over them, they headed for home, leaving their picnic behind, but they could make little progress against the wind. There was some angry thunder and dazzling flares of lightning near and far. Dear one, cried Abel, we must find shelter! Anywhere! They stopped bucking the wind and ran skeltering with it, in dismay.

Clinging together, they ran, or were blown, through the woods, and eventually came up against a great, rocky cliff that shimmered in the pounding rain. They could be blown no farther.

The shelter they’d been seeking was very close. Up here! some voices called. Up here! Abel and Amanda looked up. Not far above them was the opening of a cave from which various furry faces peered out. They clambered together up into the cave, greatly relieved and panting for breath.


The cave was full of chattering animals who’d been lucky enough to find this haven. There were several mice that Abel and Amanda knew, and a family of toads they had once met at a carnival; all the rest were strangers. A weasel was off by himself in a corner, saying his prayers over and over.

Abel and Amanda were welcomed by all, and congratulations passed around. The storm raged as if it had lost its mind completely. The damp occupants of the cave stood close together in the vaulted entrance like actors who had played their parts and could now watch the rest of the show from the wings. The storm was turning into a full-fledged, screaming hurricane. Huge trees were bent by furious blasts of wind, branches broke, thunder volleyed, and crazy shafts of lightning zigzagged in the dark, steamy sky.

Abel and Amanda stood in the forefront of the group, entranced by the fearsome drama. Amanda craned forward to watch an oak topple, when suddenly the wind tore from her neck the scarf of gauze she was wearing, and this airy web of stuff flew like a ghost from the mouth of the cave. Abel gawked in horror, as if Amanda herself had been rudely snatched away.

He dashed out impulsively. To no avail, Amanda tried to stop him. Abelard! she screamed. She always used his full name when she thought he was acting foolish. He slid, unheeding, down the slope of rock.

The scarf hooked onto a bramble, from which he retrieved it, but when he tried to climb back with his trophy, the wind walloped and sent him spinning like weightless tumbleweed, his sweetheart’s scarf in his paw. Helpless, unable even to struggle, he tucked in his head and was whirled along, shocked and

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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    Gorgeously told fable about a proper, gentlemanly mouse named Abel who becomes stranded alone on an island. His love for his wife sustains him while he learns to fend for himself. Great fun.
  • (4/5)
    A mouse gets stranded on an island for a year.Meh. I'm just not a fan of Steig's stuff, I suppose.
  • (5/5)
    One of my all time favorites. A journey from a life of frivolity to a true understanding of the self. Deceptively simple, and rich with meaning.
  • (5/5)
    Newberry Honor. Read this in fourth grade and have been hooked on ready since. Story tells of a mouse lost and trying to get home again. A must read.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    I read this to my girls at bedtime because one daughter was reading it for a novel study. Thoroughly enjoyed the adventure and it made an excellent "family" read.
  • (5/5)
    I recently read this book to my 5 year-old daughter.Summary: Abel is carried away by a storm when he ventures from shelter in an attempt to retrieve his wife's scarf. The wind and water of the storm eventually leave him stranded on an island from which he must either escape quickly or learn to survive in wilds of nature. Review: The book is a wonderful example of WIlliam Steig's writing. The exciting parts were dramatic enough to keep my daughter on the edge of her seat, but not so much as to cause nightmares. There were also many funny parts that appealed to her as the child listener and I as the adult reader. I have read this book in the past, but had forgotten how serious and somber the tone became in a few places. My daughter didn't catch on to how touchingly desperate some parts were, proving how carefully the story is layered for different levels of understanding. For a children's book, Abel's Island is a surprisingly deep and meaningful story. Although we finished the book almost a week ago, I have seen my daughter pull the book down to look at the pictures several times - reliving the story again and again.
  • (4/5)
    This is a story about a couple of mice who gets swept away in a rain flood while trying to catch his wife's scarf. Abel ends up on a deserted island and must learn how to survive on his own. Abel tried to build boats to get back across the river but fails. Eventually Abel makes friends with a frog and figures out how to across the river but only with the frogs help.As a classroom project we might use sticks or organic elements found outside on the playground that rain might collect to make possible rafts to get across the stream. We could also draw pictures on what the deserted island might look like. This book present multiple ways to incorporate all kinds of literary and artistic lessons.
  • (3/5)
    Joining the librarything 75 challenge group folk who are reading YA books in July, I'm looking forward to making a dent in the Newbery books I want to read.Abel's Island is a 1977 Newbery honor book that is deceptively simple. While bored with the beginning chapters, as the story progressed, I was captivated by the wonderful illustrations and descriptions of Abel, the sophisticated mouse who was stranded for a year on an island far away from his home.When on a summer picnic with his new bride Amanda, a sudden storm approaches. Finding shelter in a cave, Abel risks safety to rescue Amanda's wind blown scarf. Whisked away in turbulent currents, it is this prized possession that he clings to through the long year of loneliness.The pampered, sophisticated Abel humbly learns to fend for himself while facing many perils. Longing for Amanda and his creature comforts, Abel gradually accepts his fat,e while proudly growing in self sufficiency.While the winter winds whip, when the screeching owl stalks Abel as prey, and when the spring rains swell the river and hinder his escape, Abel survives valiantly and takes solace in the stars at night, in the beauty of the water and the glistening of the snow.
  • (5/5)
    Abel's Island (Newbery Award & Honor Books) by William Steig is a Newberry Award book. This is a chapter book that is the story of a privledged mouse named Able. Able gets stranded on an Island. Able must learn to survive and fend for himself as well as build independence skills. Able learns to never give up.This is an enjoyable book that sparks the readers imagination. The words are vivid and the pictures descriptive. Young reader will learn some problem solving skills and the importance of never giving up.Story extenders could be setting up a survival/camping theme in the dramatic play area. If there are no allergies children could explore nuts and edible seeds. They can crack and eat them then graph their favorites. Seeds can be sorted and counted as well.