Monday, May 4, 2015

Brave Irene   
by William Steig

William Steig’s use of strong and varied vocabulary in all his books, make any story written by him a wonderful mentor text for word choice, adjective study, strong verbs and vocabulary study.

Book Talk
Irene Bobbin is the daughter of a seamstress.  Mrs. Bobbin has just completed sewing a beautiful gown for the Duchess.  However, she needs to get the gown delivered very soon and a terrible snow storm is approaching.  In addition, Mrs. Bobbin does not feel well.

Irene volunteers to deliver the gown to the Duchess.  First she tenderly makes sure that her mother is in bed and comfortable before Irene starts on her journey.

And what a journey it ended up being!  The snowstorm is fierce, strong and unrelenting. The gown is soon ripped from the box by the unforgiving wind.  Irene is horrified at losing the gown, but feels she must persevere and continue on to inform the Duchess what happened to the gown.  

The storm seems to strengthen and worsen, yet so does Irene’s resolve.  Finally, she arrives at the Duchess’s mansion….and lo and behold!  The wind has blown the dress against a tree nearby!

Irene presents the gown to the Duchess, and tells the Duchess the entire story of her journey.  The Duchess, her guests and servants  all warmly welcome Irene and treat her to quite an evening.

The next day, Irene is sent back to her mother safe and sound. (And mother is recovering.)

An example of Steig’s incredible talent and use of words:
“The wind wrestled her for the package—walloped it, twisted it, shook it, snatched at it. But Irene wouldn’t yield. “It’s my mother’s work!” she screamed. The—oh woe—the box was wrenched from her mittened grasp and sent bumbling along in the snow. Irene went after it.”

Suggested Uses as a Mentor Text:
Book Genre: Fiction (Strong Female Character)
Reading Workshop strategies:  Summarizing, Inferring
Writing Workshop: Narrative Writing, Elaboration
Grammar: strong verbs, vivid adjectives

Information about William Steig:

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