Monday, February 6, 2012

"Brave Irene" Book & CD set - Review & Giveaway

We are regulars at our local library.  I love the world of possibilities it opens to children (and adults) free of cost.  Except for the overdue fees.

As a first grader, my daughter has been learning to read for awhile now, and thankfully shares her mom's love of books.  She loves the book and CD sets dearly, but I rarely let her check them out, for fear we'll misplace one or the other in the short week before its due date sets in.

So I was very glad when I recently received the opportunity to review the children's book and CD set "Brave Irene"!  I wanted to surprise my daughter.  I knew she'd be as excited as I was, possible more.  I even got to select which book, and chose "Brave Irene" for its endearing storyline of a tough, determined little girl who overcomes adversity.  What did she say when she saw it?  "I LOVE that book!  We read it last year in school!"

Although this book is a classic and has been around for years I was surprised at her reaction, since the book title had actually been new to me.  We immediately popped in the CD and enjoyed having this tale told to us - a real treat!  The illustrations are captivating and serve as a perfect accompaniment, helping us to visualize the challenging journey Irene undertook.

The Concept

Why a book and a CD?  For many reasons, and for many ages, it works beautifully to have someone tell the story while a youngster follows along in a book.  I know for my daughter's age, this is perfect.  She can read, but gets frustrated when she tries to tackle a harder book alone.  I love to sit down and read with her, but don't always have the time to do so.  This way she can pop in the CD, and enjoy reading independently.  Perfect.

I think having a few book and CD sets in your child's library is a fantastic idea, one that will benefit both you and your kids.

The Product

We have overcrowded bookcases in this house, and space is therefor at a premium.  I loved the way this book and CD set are packaged, in a nice vinyl cover.  Very functional - allows a protective place for the CD to stay with its partner book.  But also very streamlined and compact.

PLUS!  Guess who narrates "Brave Irene"?  Meryl Streep!  Of course, she does an amazing job, and I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect.  So interesting and fun to hear how someone else interprets the story through use of their voice inflections. I was wishing she could read some of my grown up books to me.

The Story

Irene is quite a little trooper!  She steps up to bat when her mother falls ill, since there is a very important delivery to be made.  Irene's mom is a dress maker, and the duchess needs her new beautiful gown for a ball that very evening!

With a snow storm at hand, Irene bundles up and heads out with her special package.  It is not easy going.

... and this is not a good turn of events!  By now you're really pulling for her, as she has won your heart and your admiration equally.

The plot thickens as evening approaches.  I will not ruin the ending for you, but it is well worth the read.  It's a fantastic story, and one that I have no doubt will become a favorite around our house.

Written and illustrated by William Steig, the book "Brave Irene" was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year.

The Company

Macmillan Audio is a branch of Macmillan publishing which offers books accompanied by audio CDs.  Of specific interest to me was their "Young Listeners" offerings - featuring sets for children and youths.   I thought they were very reasonably priced.  The "Brave Irene" book and CD set sells for $9.99.

They have a great website, allowing you to search for books by either topic of interest, or a child's age range/grade - which I found very helpful.

The Giveaway!

Macmillan will be giving away one "Brave Irene" Book and CD set to my readers!

Please enter using the form below. a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Save me seems very interesting!
    Nguyenhkathy at gmail dot com

  2. I like the One and Only shrek!

  3. I would choose The One and Only Shrek. My daughter loves the movies so she'd LOVE that! lol

    Shannon F.

  4. Brave Irene all the way! My little girl's name is Irene, named after my late mother.

  5. Dinosaur A to Z boardbook is a book I know my kids would enjoy a lot.

  6. Radiance looks good

  7. I like the learn a language behind the wheel cds. My neighbor only speeks spanish and I really want to learn so that we can be closer friends.

  8. Bad Kitty Gets a Bath.

  9. I think my daughter would like I Wonder Why Lemons Taste Sour. She is always asking questions about everything!


  11. The book and CD set that interests me the most is Glimmerglass by Jenna Black.

  12. "The Heart of Parenting" looks very interesting to me.

  13. I don't know if this one is a cd set, but I would really like to have the book henry's heart to use with my kids at school

  14. Save Me by Lisa Scottoline seems great!

  15. brown bear brown bear what do you see!

  16. I loved Tikki Tikki Tembo book, as a kid, so it'd be fun to have the CD to hear the long name repeated each time!

  17. A Sick Day for Amos McGee sounds pretty cute.

    Kelly L.

  18. I'd love to try the Behind the Wheel Language programs - probably Spanish!

  19. love that it comes with a CD! Great to teach fluency!
    tristazmail yahoo com

  20. The One and Only Shrek would be fun!

  21. My kids would enjoy Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

    khmorgan_00 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  22. I'd love to take a look at A Sick Day for Amos McGee!

    marija.majerle at gmail dot com

  23. Save Me
    Lisa Scottoline sounds like a good one!

  24. Bad Kitty Gets a Bath

    My daughter loves bad kitty

  25. I like The One and Only Shrek! 3 year old would love that




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