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Brave Irene (Sunburst Books)

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  1,787 ratings  ·  117 reviews
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
Paperback, 32 pages
Published April 1st 1988 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published 1986)
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Eddie Watkins
Almost experimental in its adherence to tedium, as a good 2/3rds of the book is dedicated to Irene's monotonous trek through a snowy forest to deliver her sick mom's handmade gown to the duchess in time for the ball; no supernatural intrusions, no animals, no mythic nomadic hunters, nothing, just Irene sruggling against the elements page after page; the sun goes down and the snow goes from white to grey (my daughter points at the greyly depicted nocturnal snow and calls it mud), the gown is blow ...more
Lisa Vegan
Well, hmm, this book is sort of weird. I saw it on a shelf at the library and I liked the cover illustration and so I gave it a try.

I did like the pictures. My favorite is of Irene by the fire eating and the two dogs looking at her, and most of the outdoor scenes, but all of the illustrations were ones I’d have loved as a kid, including all the details of Irene’s and her mother’s house and the palace interior and people also.

But why the heck doesn’t the duchess send her people to come get the go
Caitlin Lawler
Brave Irene by William Steig is the adventurous and determined story of a young girl named Irene the daughter of a seamstress who had just finished a gown for the duchess. Irene’s mother is feeling too ill to take the dress to the duchess in the snow. Irene convinces her mother to let her take the dress because the duchess cannot be without it. When Irene leaves it is extremely cold and windy. As she struggles in the snow and wind which whispers to her to go home, Irene loses the dress in the wi ...more
Sep 16, 2014 Macy added it
Irene is a young girl who is the daughter of Mrs. Bobbins, a dress maker. Mrs. Bobbins is making a beautiful dress for the duchess to wear that night when she starts to feel sick and decides she is not well enough to deliver the dress that night. Irene speaks up and says that she can deliver the dress to the duchess for her. Her mother cautions her of the cold weather. Irene sets off on her journey and is tossed and thrown about by the wind and heavy snowstorm. Just as Irene thinks the weather ...more
Dorothy Carder
I felt this was a great tale in the fictional genre of picture books, probably geared towards upper elementary school children. It reminded me of how I like to take care of my own mom, and so as a daughter I could relate to the book and felt I may have even read it while I was growing up in school since the copyright year is 1986. I am thinking it also may be more geared towards girls considering that context as well. I felt the author depicted Irene as a very responsible and mature little girl. ...more
Justin Ferrell
Realistic Fiction, 1986

Irena's mother is a seamstress that has made a special dress for the duchess, but is too sick to deliver it. This means that Irena has to venture out into the snowstorm to take it to her. After fighting through the storm, she is able to deliver the dress in time for the ball. Brave Irene is a great book to read aloud as an example of writing with descriptive words and using personification. A majority of the story takes place out in the snow storm and the author does a gre
Dec 20, 2012 June rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: winter and strong female requests
Read this to a second grade class and it went over well. It is a story I really enjoy, but a bit long for story times so this worked out well. I used to show it when we had preschool movies and it was quite popular.
We love this wintertime tale of a little girl braving the elements to help her Mama. William Steig has a knack for tapping into something strange and adventurous as kids interact with the adult world.
I like this story because it features an ordinary girl who rises to the occasion and does what needs to be done. It was one of our Summer Reading titles, though it is not very summery.
Linda Lipko
Brave Irene by William Steig, written in 1986, highly recommended by Nancy Pearl in Book Crush: For Kids and Teens - recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Interest, this is a story of Irene whose seamstress mother is very ill and cannot deliver a dress to the duchess for an evening ball.

Irene carefully boxes the dress and bundles for the approaching winter storm. As the wind forces her backward and the snow pelts her face, Irene is bent on accomplishing the mission.

Throughout her journe
Elayna Gilbert
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. The pictures are into great detail and i like the light colors it uses. It would be a great lesson in my classroom about bravery to the childr ...more
Here is a true classic, a book that I'm sure has been weaved into the fabric of countless childhoods all across the United States and all over the world, too. Brave Irene was read to me more than once during my first few grades in school, and I remember the exciting storyline in vivid detail, with unflappable, determined Irene setting off to deliver her mother's package to the duchess in time for her party.

Irene Bobbin is the kind of girl that one can't help but cheer on to success. Despite th
Brave Irene

"An extroadinarily eloquent story about love and courage" - The New Yorker

The Duchess eagerly awaits the delivery of her ball gown by Irene's mother, Mrs. Bobbin, but the seamstress is sick in bed and can't possibly deliver the gown in time.

Enter Brave Irene! Through a ferocious snowstorm and deliberately treacherous winds, Irene sets out to save the day for her dear mother (who smelled like fresh-baked bread to Irene).

Most would turn back, too afraid to face such a frightening journ
Irene's mother, the dressmaker, finally finishes the dress for the Duchess, but she doesn't have the energy to get it to her in time for the ball that night. Irene promises her mother she can. She helps her mother to bed, wraps the dress up carefully and braves the winter storm to make the journey to get the dress to the Duchess for the ball that night.

Irene battles wind and snow piled higher than her ankles. But trudge on she does. But suddenly, a strong gust of wind whips the box out of her ha
“Brave Irene” is a beautiful book from the brilliant mind of William Steig and is about how a young girl named Irene decides to take the duchess’ newly made gown through a ferocious snowstorm after her mother becomes extremely ill. “Brave Irene” is surely a classic story about the true meaning of courage that will entice children to definitely read this book.

William Steig has done an excellent job at both illustrating and writing the story. William Steig’s writing is full of drama and adventure
Sep 27, 2011 Katie added it
Brave Irene by William Steig is one of determination. A young girl offers to take a dress her ill mother made to the duchess through a winter storm. Even through the struggles and challenges she faces against the elements of the storm (the wind, day turning to night) she never gives up. It is a heartwarming story of courage that many can relate to when it comes to overcoming adversity. Steig did a wonderful job illustrating the text. Most of the story takes us through her wintery adventure, show ...more
Poor little girl risking her life so duchess can wear yet another dress to another meaningless event, that book proved one more time that this world belongs to a few. Terrible message that the life of the poor and destitute worth all but a fleeting moment to a wealthy. Keep your stupid fruit basket and a cake to yourself duchess.
I hate this book. I hated it in the third grade, and I hate it now. Yes, let's tell little girls that it's totally okay to ignore your mother's wishes, risk your life in a snowstorm, and contemplate death when things aren't going well because you absolutely have to deliver a dress to the Duchess. How about no?
Claire Rozint
This book describes the struggle a young girl goes through to get a dress to a duchess. This little girl goes out on a horrible winters day to deliver a dress to the duchess. She comes across many obstacles on her way there including hurting herself. This little girl is a courageous and strong girl.
Brave Irene tells the tale of a young girl who braves a winter storm to deliver a dress to a royal member for her sick mother. This book would be great to use to discuss bravery and things they have or people they know who have done something brave out of the kindness of their hearts for others.
Pleasant picture book about the eponymous character, who sets out in stormy weather to deliver the dress her mother has made for the duchess. The winter wind tries to prevent her. Why? No reason; that's just what nature does. She perseveres, succeeds, and is rewarded.
Lenore Webb
I needed a break one evening so College Girl took over bedtime duties. She also was trying to keep up with her school work too. If you have kiddos you know that reading a book is not always a quick read and tuck into bed. So College Girl pulled out "Brave Irene" which is both a book and story read on CD. I loved listening from my room as Meryl Steep told the story of Irene Bobbin delivering the duchesses ball gown to her through a horrid snow storm to help her mom the dressmaker. There was adven ...more
Yes, it's a girl character who's brave - and it's not a trite story. That there should almost be enough review by itself. How seldom still sadly, we find books like this. This is a good one, with good illustrations too.
This was one of the books I used for my author's study for my high comprehension students in small group. Great book and I included Shrek, Dr. Desoto and Amos and Boris for this study. Had.a lot it!
Riona Daly
The title of this book is misleading for young children. Although Irene shows bravery, I feel the book does not state the depth of the danger Irene endures and poor decision making by her mother. Allowing a child to walk to deliver a gown when it is clear a storm is brewing is in no way a wise decision.

I feel Irene's bravery is shown to make her way through the storm, in particular when she falls underneath.

However, I did not like this book as the young child should not have been allowed leave h
Zach Hamrick
I thought Brave Irene was an extraordinary book becasue it teaches children to be brave and to press on through trials. During this book Irene has to take the dress her mother made to the palace, but it is extremely cold because there is a blizzard. She even loses the dress at one point and Irene continues on her Journey. I recomend this book for young children.
Catherine Johnson
This is a cute story about a young girl with a mission not unlike that of Red Riding Hood but the weather is the wolf and she nearly doesn't make it.
Angela Hollen
This book shows Irene braving a snowstorm to take a dress to the princess. Students could infer using this book.
As of 1/4/2011, you can watch/listen to Al Gore read this for free at

Original review:
I have no idea if my godson actually liked this one, but as a kid, I loved William Steig and one of my favorites was this, Brave Irene. Irene's mother is a seamstress and has made a gown for the duchess to wear at a party she is giving that very night. But Irene's mother is also ill and cannot deliver the gown, so Irene decides that she will take it to the palace, through t
I enjoyed the story until Irene made it to the Duchess' house. At that point the story was predictable and boring. Up until then, the language was rich, and I expected the unexpected.

Denise recommended this book. We are going to read it as the anticipatory set for a writing activity we will be doing. The plan is to read up until the gown blows away. Students will summarize the story at that point. Once satisfied, we will re-visit the story as the launch of speculative writing, having the student
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William Steig was born in New York City in 1907. In a family where every member was involved in the arts, it was not surprising that Steig became an artist.

He published his first children's book, Roland the Minstrel Pig, in 1968, embarking on a new and very different career.

Steig's books reflect his conviction that children want the security of a devoted family and friends. When Sylvester, Farmer
More about William Steig...
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