Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BRAVE IRENE by William Steig Kirkus Star


illustrated by William Steig

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1986
ISBN: 0374409277
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Irene Bobbin, dressmaker's daughter, tucks her ill mother comfortably in bed and sets out through a storm to deliver a ball gown to the duchess; despite an interfering wind and heavy snow, she makes it. Steig, who tells his uncomplicated story in a disarmingly breezy style, is a master of the perfect unexpected word, the startlingly right phrase. Mrs. Bobbin calls her wholesome daughter "cupcake," "dumpling," and "pudding." The ill-tempered wind, a feisty character in itself, rips open the precious box, whereupon "The ball gown flounced out and went waltzing through the powdered air with tissue-paper attendants." The illustrations showing Irene's indomitable struggle on her way between comfortable home and welcoming castle complement the text admirably, deftly charting the passage on Irene's expressive face of determination, discouragement, surprise and jubilation; the illustrations are also interesting as a series of subtly changing paintings of girl and yellow box in a gradually darkening winter landscape. A thoroughly satisfying picture book from this producer of both Newbery and Caldecott Honor books.