Miss A Columnist

Tamar Mekredijian is a Copy Editor for Miss A. She is a full-time freelance and fiction writer who recently received her Master’s Degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in
Family First Magazine and Salt Fresno Magazine. You can read about her writing life at Ode to Fiction. If you have something for moms, children or families that you would like covered on Miss A, please email Tamar at tam.abadj@gmail.com.

Review Of Brave Irene By William Steig

When it comes to our kids, we want to ensure that we provide the best possible learning experience, especially at home. After all, knowledge is power! One of the best ways to equip your kids and help them develop their learning skills is by encouraging them to read. Of course, your little ones might not be able to read yet, but you can read to them. Another option is to purchase audio books!

Photo Credit: myfourmonkeys.com

I recently had the pleasure of reading, listening to, and reviewing William Steig’s Brave Irene, read by Meryl Streep. Brave Irene depicts the story of a young girl, Irene, and her mother. Irene’s mother finishes sewing a gown for the duchess, but is too sick to deliver it to the palace. Irene volunteers to go in her place. Her mother warns her that it’s snowing, and that she shouldn’t go, but Irene insists, claiming that she loves the snow. She tucks her mom into bed, puts on her winter clothes, and goes out into the storm with the boxed gown. The storm proves to be too intense, and the wind takes the gown into the dark storm. The day turns into night, and Irene becomes lost and begins to lose hope. The snow becomes so deep that she is buried in it, and doesn’t think she can keep going, until her mother comes to mind-the reason for her journey. When she musters the courage to get up and keep going, she finds the palace, finds the gown stuck to a tree outside, and safely delivers the gown and tells the duchess about her hard journey. In the end, the duchess brings her back home to her mother, and Irene’s mother is so very thankful to and proud of her brave Irene.

The audio recording of the story read by Meryl Streep is a real treat, bringing to life the characters and Irene’s brave journey through the storm. Streep is very confident and doesn’t hold back. She changes her voice for each character, even the character of the wind! The sound of the wind is audible in the background as Irene makes her way through the snow toward the palace.

Photo Credit: carlemuseum.org

There are wonderful images such as the moment the wind carries the gown away: “The ball gown flounced out and went waltzing through the powdered air with tissue-paper attendants.” The reader gets a sense of the familiarity and love between mother and daughter when Irene wills herself out of giving up: “Why not freeze to death, she thought, and let all these troubles end. Why not? She was already buried. And never see her mother’s face again?Her good mother who smelled like fresh-baked bread?” It’s a wonderful image that appeals to the reader’s senses. Associating her mother’s warm scent with “fresh-baked bread” is such an original illustration.

Brave Irene highlights the loving and sacrificial relationship between mother and daughter-a perfect book to read on Mother’s Day! Enhance your child’s learning experience and reading time by reading along to an audio reading of Brave Irene. It will teach them both the healthy habit of reading and good listening skills. Bond with them over an enchanting and beautiful book about a wonderful mother-daughter relationship this Mother’s Day!

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