Review Blog

Aug 05 2015

Abigail by Catherine Rayner

cover image

Little Tiger Press, 2015. ISBN 9781848956469
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Giraffes, Humour, Counting, Africa. Abigail loves to count. She begins to count the spots on the ladybird, but it climbs under the leaf. She begins to count the stripes on the zebra but it moves away. She begins to count the spots on the cheetah but he runs away. And the leaves on the tree disappear as zebra eats them. Ladybird suggest she counts the flowers in the vast plains and the friends begin. But zebra and cheetah are not very good at it, so Abigail must help them. At first they say lots and many to describe the number of flowers they see but with Abigail's patient help begin to count the flowers. But they are stopped when night begins to fall, but when they look up they see a sky full of things to count.
This is a lovely story of friendship as the animals help Abigail find something to count even though they are not very good at it, and she in return patiently helps them succeed. This story reiterates the skill of counting and shows the reader how important it is. It also differentiates between a precise number and the words which describe groups of numbers. The background of the plains of Africa is stunningly presented and children will be amazed at the diversity of flora and fauna shown with so clearly with simple watercolour images. They will be delighted at the surprise page near the end and marvel at the size of the giraffe. I love the trees with their typical flat underbellies, especially as used on the publication page adding another level of humour to this delightful book. Rayner is a Kate Greenaway Medal winner (2009) and her books with their lovely watercolour images have always intrigued me.
Fran Knight

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