Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Abel's Island - William Steig

Summary: 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. (image and summary from

My Review: I think as a kid I liked the idea of going on an adventure and having to survive by my wits and cunning.  I always loved books like My Side of the Mountain, and this one, Abel's Island, where characters have to do just that.

I recently re-read Abel's Island, and it still had that same charm, and I love how he figures out how to survive on the island he's deposited on after an unfortunate incident.  Having grown up with a silver spoon in his mouth, I also like how he has to humble himself to realize that the world does not revolve around him, and he has to work hard just to make it.

Despite his difficult circumstances, and how lonely he feels missing his wife Amanda, he makes the best of his situation, foraging and storing food, keeping out of reach of the hungry owl, and, in a bout of loneliness, starts sculpting his family members into life-size statues so he doesn't feel so alone.

I like introspective stories like this, where a character has to sort of analyze everything they've been dealt and work with it, and figure out where to go from here.  I think I also like reading these types of stories because I always wonder what I would do if I were ever stranded on a deserted island somewhere, and if I would have the stamina to survive, and even if that will never happen, it's something to think about, which is why stories and books are so great, they let you have that experience.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

For the sensitive reader: Nothing offensive, but Abel is put in a lot of dangerous situations.

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