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Abby the Crabby Tabby
Andrea Lane, author
Abby the Crabby Tabby Discovers Gratitude, written by Andrea Lane, is a funny and fun-to-read, beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book about the value of gratitude as seen through the eyes of a cat that wants everything, but appreciates nothing. Children will identify with Abby’s list of complaints, and will enjoy her bumpy journey to uncover the secret to happiness. Through Lane’s gentle humor and Heather Bousquet’s delightful illustrations, Abby the Crabby Tabby Discovers Gratitude demonstrates how a grateful heart can take everyday frustrations and turn them into opportunities to experience and share joy. For several years, Andrea Lane, a practicing vegan and attorney, worked as an advocate for animal protection in public policy, and she continues to support organizations that advocate for the humane treatment and protection of all animals, from cats to cows. A percentage of the proceeds from Abby the Crabby Tabby sales will benefit Furkids, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates the largest cage-free, no-kill shelter in the Southeast for rescued cats and Sadie’s Place, a no-kill shelter for dogs. Abby the Crabby Tabby will be released on National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day – April 30th.
In her relatable, rhyming picture book for young children, Lane introduces Abby the crabby tabby, a persnickety longhaired kitty with a yellow bow on her head whose litany of complaints is endless and all encompassing. Abby starts each day by moaning about her breakfast of salmon and cheese, then moves on to whining about her “boring” toys, and finally her “small and lumpy” bed. Her lighthearted sister, Olivia Kathy, doesn’t understand why Abby is so miserable until one day she has a revelation: “‘Happiness,’ she thought, ‘why it’s all in your head!’”

When Olivia Kathy rushes to share this truth, telling Abby that “happiness isn’t a place that you find,” but rather “a thing you create with your mind,” the curmudgeonly cat is on her way out the door to find a place where she can “get what [she wants] right away.” But soon Abby finds her journey abruptly cut short and begrudgingly realizes Olivia Kathy is right, electing to stay home and choose gratitude. Kids will find Abby’s issues both humorous and relevant, as they’ve likely felt bored with their own toys and food or argued with a sibling at some point as well. Learning to look inward to find joy and peace and appreciate what one already has is a valuable lesson at any age, especially in an era of instant gratification and excess, and Abby the Crabby Tabby communicates it with engaging clarity.

Heather Bousquet’s detailed, expressive illustrations bring Abby’s journey from cantankerous to thankful delightfully to life. Abby is frequently shown scowling and rolling her big blue eyes while Olivia Kathy smiles, helping kids visualize the difference between choosing to see the water bowl as half full versus half empty. Ultimately a grinning and content-looking Abby is shown enjoying the same food and bed she used to deride, making a clear and important case for the power of gratitude.

Takeaway: The power of gratitude shines through this engaging story of a spoiled tabby.

Great for fans of: Karma Wilson’s Bear Says Thanks, Matt de la Peña’s Last Stop on Market Street.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A