Sunday, December 12, 2021

Review - Brave Irene

Brave Irene

by William Steig
Date: 1986
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

"Brave Irene" is Irene Bobbin, the dressmaker's daughter. Her mother, Mrs. Bobbin, isn't feeling so well and can't possibly deliver the beautiful ball gown she's made for the duchess to wear that very evening. So plucky Irene volunteers to get the gown to the palace on time, in spite of the fierce snowstorm that's brewing-- quite an errand for a little girl. But where there's a will, there's a way, as Irene proves in the danger-fraught adventure that follows. She must defy the wiles of the wicked wind, her most formidable opponent, and overcome many obstacles before she completes her mission. Surely, this winning heroine will inspire every child to cheer her on.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is only my second William Steig picture book, the first one being Shrek! But Irene is no ogre; she's a determined little girl who goes on a bit of an adventure and battles the wind.

There's plenty of peril in this tale when Irene sets off in a snowstorm to deliver a dress to the duchess. Her mother, the dressmaker, is sick and can't do it herself, so the little girl bundles up and takes the boxed dress out into the snow. But the wind fights her the whole way, and at one point it looks like all hope is lost. Will Irene's tenacity win out over the stubborn wind and the dangerous cold?

I don't love the illustrations here, but if you're a fan of Steig's style, you might enjoy them. The story itself is what I really like; the writing is sophisticated without being too difficult to understand, and the characters—especially Irene and her nemesis, the wind—are clearly defined.

I'd recommend this to readers who are looking for a bit of a wintry adventure with a plucky heroine. Also, William Steig fans might want to check this one out.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.5 out of 5

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