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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Most Important Thing (The)
by Antonella Abbatiello
Age Range: Under_5
In this charming picture book, by Italian author and illustrator Antonella Abbatiello, adapted and translated by Angus Yuen-Killick, all the animals have very different ideas of what is the most important thing. Long ears declares the rabbit, but the hedgehog thinks its quills, while the frog says it’s to be green and the bird believes it’s to have wings. They all argue their case until the wise owl shows them that everyone is special and has something to offer.
Abbatiello uses a repetitive text format in answer to each animal as they insist on the most important thing – “That could be true. Perhaps it is so. It could be …. But how can we know? Wondered the others. ” – making it a perfect book to read aloud. The witty artwork with its large fold-out pages shows the animals with whichever ‘important thing’ is under discussion: green the colour of the frog, with strong teeth like the bear, or long necks like the giraffe and so on.
A lovely message that celebrates being different and that we are all unique in our own way. The Most Important Thing received a UNESCO Literary Prize Honorable Mention for Peace and Tolerance.