Reviews of Abigail Spells
"This winsome tale demonstrates the value of friendship during the trials and travails of life. The announcement of the school spelling bee delights Abigail. With George’s assistance, she earnestly begins preparing for the big day, gleefully spelling out words at every opportunity. However, besieged by stage fright during the contest, Abigail makes a mistake. George’s stalwart companionship and his wise words provide the devastated Abigail the comfort she needs. Alter’s simply told text deftly conveys the genuine affection between the friends and treats Abigail’s disappointment with the gravity it deserves. The enduring message of the inevitability of setbacks and the necessity of gracefully coping—with a little help from friends—will appeal to readers struggling with their own challenges. Heavily pigmented acrylic paintings impart a quaint, old-fashioned feel to the tale, imbuing it with a classic timelessness; the double-page close-up of Abigail’s moment of failure is a portrait of shame and disappointment embodied. Quiet and unassuming, this sympathetic testament to friendship is a great addition to a child’s shelf."
"Every child faces failure at some point, and this gentle story reminds readers how important supportive friends are in these situations. Abigail and George do everything together, from music to art to storytelling. The one thing that Abigail loves to do most, however, is to spell. With George's encouragement, she enters the school spelling bee; but then she makes a mistake and is eliminated. She is devastated until George tells a story reminding her how wonderful she truly is. Alter's folk-style acrylics done in warm, muted shades beautifully complement this steady-paced, conversational story. A swell selection."
– School Library Journal
"Abigail, a young chicken, and her best friend, George, a bear, have all kinds of fun together. They like to cha cha, and George enjoys the stories that Abigail tells. But there’s one thing that Abigail does very well all by herself: spell. After Abigail hears about a school spelling bee, all she does is practice spelling. One of the neat things about this book is how it uses every opportunity to show Abigail spelling words—while brushing her teeth, eating her lunch—all of which might get children interested in spelling, too. When the big day comes, though, Abigail’s nerves get the better of her, and with a misspelling of “elephant,” she’s out. She is in a funk, and George despairs, until he tells her a story about two friends. What makes this different from so many happy-enders is that the story recognizes that defeat is part of life. The pictures, executed in acrylics and simple shapes, neatly capture both actions and emotions."