ABEL'S ISLAND by William Steig
Kirkus Star

ABEL'S ISLAND

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Early in August of 1907 newlywed mice Abel and Amanda are enjoying a genteel picnic when "it" is so inconsiderate as to storm. Abel, who leaves their shelter to retrieve his wife's blown-away scarf, doesn't return for a year, as he is swept off to an uninhabited island where, for the first time in his life, survival requires hard work and straggle. Though preoccupied at first with efforts to escape, Abel eventually settles in on the island: rediscovering his teeth as a primitive tool (but, disarmingly, using his pen knife to escape an owl's homy clutches), making clay statues of his loved ones, holing up in a hollow log during the wretched winter, passing better times with a large book he finds on the shore (though, by spring, he's glad to finish it because "what was happening around him was a lot more exciting"), and visiting for a while with a passing frog of abstracted mentality and crude ways which both impress and disgust the wellbred mouse. It is the frog who suggests that in his statues Abel has "found your vocation"--a remark that nicely focuses the trying experience's value for Abel. Steig, almost insidiously, wins you at once to this pampered, untried mouse, and then you grow along with him as he makes himself fit for the world.
Pub Date: June 4th, 1976
ISBN: 0374300100
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1976




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