I know the trend is to go to e-readers and skip traditional books;  and while that may be fine for adults, I’m not completely convinced our children should be using them.  Their brains and eyes are changing and growing at such a rapid rate during their childhood and no one has proven e-readers and other computer devices safe for children. I’d hate to find out later that they’re not or that they damaged our children’s eye sight or health in some way.

Plus, there’s something about the freedom of carrying a book around, touching it, feeling it, and yes smelling it that kids may miss out on.  And I’m not totally against electronics.  In fact, I love audiobooks and have for decades.  My own children used them at night in bed after our traditional storytime and on car rides when we weren’t available to read to them.  It’s not a substitution for one-on-one reading time, but it’s perfect for those times when you can’t be there.

I got the chance to listen to and experience Macmillian Audio‘s release of Brave Irene.  It’s a book and CD set by William Steig.  He’s a classic children’s author, cartoonist, and illustrator, but you’d probably recognize his work Shrek!, which the DreamWorks movies are based upon, most.  In “Brave Irene,” the story is brought to life through Mery Streep‘s amazing voice talent.  I love her as an actress and as a reader, she’s phenomenal.  She transforms from a soothing storyteller to a nasty antagonist flawlessly.

Brave Irene is the story of Irene Bobbin, the dressmaker’s daughter, who steps in when her mother falls ill to deliver a dress for a duchess.  In spite of a snowstorm and other adventures along the way, Irene must persevere to complete her task.  The story has themes of perseverance, family, and caring.

The set includes an audio CD of Streep reading the book, the New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year full color paperback, and a read along track for kids.  It’s truly a great educational and entertaining holiday gift that your child will enjoy for years!

Brave Irene Book Details:

  • Publisher: Macmillan Young Listeners; Unabridged edition (November 22, 2011)
  • Grade Range: p to 3
  • Age Range: 4 to 8
  • ISBN: 978-0-312-56422-3, ISBN10: 0-312-56422-8,
  • Picture Book, 8 1/2 x 10 3/8 inches, 32 pages, full-color pictures
  • Retail:  $9.99


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