A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is an adventure story of high heroics and simple charms, written in a fluent hand and set to impressionistic, emotive watercolors. The pacing keeps listeners rapt.
What's the story?
Neither deep snow nor menacing wind keeps brave Irene from her mission--the cross-country delivery of a ball gown stitched by her mom for the duchess. Not even when the gown is snatched by the wind will she desist: She'll take no guff from the wind, and if ultimately all she can deliver is an apology, that'll have to do. Bravo!
Is it any good?
This most excellent heroine -- one of only a few in the William Steig canon -- gives as good as she gets from the cruel wind and drifting snow and the deep dark woods. "I'll do no such thing," snaps Irene, when the squall tries to bully her home. She must contend with the workings of fate ("How could anything so terribly wrong be allowed to happen?"). However, she has gotten herself into the mess, all to deliver an empty box and a "Sorry," and that's the beauty of the tale.
The text, typical of Steig's work, is as artful as the illustrations: "By the middle of the pasture, the flakes were falling thicker. Now the wind drove Irene along so rudely she had to hop, skip, and go helter-skeltering over the knobby ground."