April 30th, 2020

The Children's Bookshow At Home with Catherine Rayner

As we’re all spending a lot more time at home these days, The Children’s Bookshow will be producing a Book of the Week Newsletter. We’ll be recommending some of our favourite books, introducing you to some brilliant authors and illustrators, and suggesting interesting activities to try at home. We’ll keep it all simple, fun and easy, without too many downloads and links to follow.

You can sign up to the newsletter here, or follow us on twitter @ChildrensBkShow. Our activities should appeal to all kinds of readers, writers and artists, so everyone can get involved. To kick us off we’re starting with Abigail by Catherine Rayner!

Book of the Week: Abigail

Abigail is a giraffe who loves to count, but finding something that will stay still long enough turns out to be a real challenge! We love this book for its gorgeous illustrations of animals and landscapes, and for Abigail the giraffe, who is patient, kind, and teaches all her friends how to count as well as she can.

Author in focus

Much of award-winning author and illustrator Catherine Rayner's inspiration for her illustration comes from her pets: her horse Shannon, guinea pig Rocky, dog Ellie, cat Ena and goldfish, Bruce.

We asked Catherine if she could be a character from a book, who would she be? She said,
“Probably the tiger who came to tea. I love food!”

Catherine's other books include Augustus and His Smile and Harris Finds His Feet. She has a new book coming out later this year called Arlo the Lion Who Couldn't Sleep.

Watch Catherine reading Abigail

Abigail Activities!

ABC Animal Friends

Abigail meets three friends in the story: Ladybird, Zebra and Cheetah. What other animal friends might Abigail have? Can you think of an animal for every letter of the alphabet?


Older children could make an alliterative list poem, adding an adjective before each noun:

Amazing Ant
Burly Bear
Cheeky Cheetah
Delightful Deer
Excited Elephant
Fantastic Fox
Gentle Giraffe

Counting and colouring

Download Abigail colouring and counting activity

Download this activity

How to draw Abigail the Giraffe

Head over to Catherine's website to see a step by step drawing guide for Abigail:

Catherine Rayner's step by step drawing guides

We'd love to read your animal poems and see your pictures of Abigail! To send us your work to display in our gallery email us, or upload to twitter with the hashtag #BookshowAtHome.

You can find our gallery, and see the work that other children have done, on Facebook! And we'll be posting some of them on our What's Happening feed here on our site too. Here are the first contributions we've received - aren't they lovely?! (Select an image for a closer look)

Email us your work for our gallery

As well this series, we have a very special letter writing project in the works. We’ll be in touch soon to tell you more…

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