37 pages 1 hour read

William Steig

Abel's Island

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1976

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Building Resilience and Finding Comfort in Nature

Going into nature can provide solace for anyone searching for a respite from the rapid pace of life. Abel and his wife, Amanda, retreat to nature to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, but their formal clothing and indulgent food choices suggest that they don’t intend to stay in nature long. When a sudden storm blows Abel over a waterfall and onto a remote island, the accident forces him to spend an entire year living outdoors, away from the comforts of civilized life. Through his experience, Abel hones the necessary skills to survive in nature and learns that living outdoors can strengthen his mind and body. Abel begins the story as a frightened mouse battling the elements, but by the end of the story he has become a wiser creature more in tune with the natural rhythms of nature. Through Abel’s experience, Steig reveals how the perseverance and adaptation required to survive in nature build resilience and character, and how experiencing nature can lead to a richer and more fulfilling existence.

Abel at first sees nature as his adversary. Trapped by the swollen river, Abel desperately fights the current in his raft and catamaran to no avail.