The award-winning author-illustrator Catherine Rayner’s latest book is inspired by the giraffe in the National Museum of Scotland’s Animal World gallery.

Abigail, published by Little Tiger, tells the story of a clever giraffe who just loves to count, but counting stripes and spots is a tricky business when your friends Zebra and Cheetah just won’t sit still!

Catherine Rayner said:

"I was inspired to write Abigail because of the markings on the giraffe, I'd never seen one close up and the patchwork of colours, along with the size of the giraffe amazed me - I just had to draw it!"

The National Museum of Scotland’s giraffe has been a popular attraction since the museum re-opened in 2011 following a major redevelopment. Unlike Abigail, the museum’s giraffe is male and stands 5.68m tall to the tips of his lips, with an added 45cm long tongue.

Catherine Rayner will be making a special appearance on the magic carpet at the National Museum of Scotland on Wednesday 15 August at 14:00 and 15:00 to introduce Abigail. Children aged 3 – 7 can enjoy a reading of the story and someAbigail-inspired activities. Catherine will also be available after each session for book-signing.

Abigail will be available to buy, alongside a selection of Catherine’s other titles, in the Connect shop on Level 1.

Notes to Editors

  • National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in the UK and Europe and it looks after collections of national and international importance. The organisation provides loans, partnerships, research and training in Scotland and internationally. Our individual museums are the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life, and the National War Museum. The National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh houses conservation and research facilities as well as collections not currently on display.

  • The National Museum of Scotland offers a full programme of family events throughout the year. For more information about upcoming events please visit

  • Catherine Rayner was born in Harrogate and now lives in Edinburgh. She has a BA Hons in Visual Communication and Illustration from Leeds College of Art and Edinburgh College of Art. Much of her inspiration for her illustration comes from her pets.

For more information or images, please contact Ruth Mackie, Press Office, Tel 0131 247 4288, or email

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