Tuesday 23 July 2013

Abigail by Catherine Rayner (Little Tiger Press)

Oh how we love Abigail! Catherine Rayner's book is not only beautiful but it's a lot of fun too.

Abigail, the wonderful Giraffe, just LOVES to count. Anyone who loves to count knows how much more fun it can be if you involve everyone else too, so Abigail soon meets all her animal friends on her travels while attempting to count their spots and their stripes. Animals rarely stay still for very long though so poor Abigail soon finds that counting is tricky when the thing you're counting is a big fidget!

This book is a true work of art, with some of the loveliest animal illustrations you'll see in children's books. Abigail herself is fab (but then we do share An Vrombaut's soft spot for giraffes and here Catherine Rayner has captured their loveliness perfectly) but so are her friends. The fun counting story is also fab and it's fun to find out what Abigail counts when the long day on the plains draws gently to an end and darkness falls.

People often ask us why we don't give any age guidance / ratings on books. The simple answer is that most books have such a huge appeal to children of all ages that it's unfair to try and pigeonhole them in that way. Taking Abigail as an example you could read it aloud to a tiny toddler just learning to count on their fingers and toes, or you could read it to a little girl like Charlotte who is busying herself with adding, subtracting and multiplication and let them soak up a beautiful and rather touching story.

In a nutshell, Abigail is as good as it looks (and it looks SO good!). It's really not hard to see how Catherine won the CILIP 2009 Kate Greenaway medal for "Harris Finds his Feet", her books are sublime.

Charlotte's best bit: Trying to count all the stripes on a lot of very busy and fidgety Zebras

Daddy's favourite bit: That delicious final spread. No spoilers but if you count all the objects in it I bet you they'll add up to exactly the number Abigail says!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Little Tiger Press)