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Shrek! Paperback – September 1, 1993

67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

No doubt about it, Shrek is the ugliest guy in town. Everywhere he goes, people and animals flee. If his hideous appearance does not immediately fell them, the smoke belching from his ears and his "putrid blue flame" sends even the mighty--including "a whopper of a dragon"--packing. Yet Shrek is inordinately proud of his green knobby head and loathsome figure, and he roams the countryside having the kind of fun that only tormenting the vulnerable can provide. Hearing a witch prophesy that he will marry a princess who is even uglier than he is, Shrek is intrigued, and he sets out to find this repulsive bride. When they finally meet, the two break into heartfelt declarations of mutual admiration. ("Your horny warts, your rosy wens, / Like slimy bogs and fusty fens, / Thrill me.") Of course, they "got hitched as soon as possible." Steig's epigrammatic genius is given full rein in this engrossing and satisfying tale. The implicit promise (or threat) of a sequel--perhaps detailing the exploits of the pair's offspring--is indeed delicious to contemplate. Ages 3-up.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3-When a horrid ogre ventures out into the world, he encounters a nasty witch, a knight in armor, a dragon and true love with a princess who's even uglier than he is in this tale by William Steig.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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"Oh, The Places You'll Go!"
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 540L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1St Edition edition (September 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374466238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374466237
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 0.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,194,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Steig (1907-2003) published his first children's book, Roland the Minstrel Pig, in 1968, and received the Caldecott Medal for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (978-1416902065) in 1970. His works also include The Amazing Bone, a Caldecott Honor Book, and Abel's Island and Doctor De Soto, both Newbery Honor Books. His most recent books published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux are Shrek! (released by DreamWorks as a major motion picture) and Wizzil, illustrated by Quentin Blake. School Library Journal named Shrek! a Best Book of 1990 and said of it, "Steig's inimitable wit and artistic dash have never been sharper or more expertly blended."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Catherine S. Vodrey on October 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
This was a family favorite for years before the film came out. Nothing against the film, which is a hoot, but the Shrek of William Steig's book is FAR lustier in his awfulness than the movie Shrek. He absolutely REVELS in his disgusting characteristics, and ends up meeting a princess who is the ugliest, most smelly, most horrific thing he's ever seen in his life. Naturally, he falls madly in love! They quote monster poetry to each other:
Sadi Shrek, "Your horny warts, your rosy wens, like slimy bogs and fusty fens, thrill me."
Said the princess, "Your lumpy nose, your pointy head, your wicked eyes, so livid red, just kill me."
Was ever a romance so beautifully begun?!?? This is wonderful, wonderful stuff. Steig absolutely revels in making these two creatures as awful as possible, and young readers (and not so young!) will enjoy the fun that Steig clearly had writing and illustrating this classic book.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Will B Bell on May 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
We knew Shrek long before there was a movie. William Steig has once again created an unforgettable character. Kids will love how Shrek revels in his own hideousness!

Steig challenges the reader with a high level vocabulary such as fusty fens, varlets and peasants scything blithely, and churlish knaves falling into stagnant moats.

Anyone who just saw Shrek and is looking for some sort of movie novelization should go elsewhere. Don't get me wrong, we all loved the movie, but it is only VERY loosely based on this book. The donkey is more given to chomping grass than making wisecracks, for instance.

I would recommend this book to parents of little boys and encourage you to check out other works by this author.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By ...Loggie... on August 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
When they came along, the moviemakers took a great deal of artistic license. Little of the book remains intact in the movie. The book starts with Shrek's parents hissing things over, and they decide to send Shrek "out in the world [to do] his share of damage". Shortly after he leaves home, Shrek meets with a witch who tells him his fortune in exchange for a few of Shrek's lice. Shrek is told that he will wed a princess who is even uglier than he, and is overjoyed at the news. On his way to the princess, Shrek meets a peasant, confronts thunder and lightning, defeats a dragon, has a nightmare of being loved by children, and meets a donkey who takes him to the castle. After defeating a knight he goes and meets his princess. The two get married and live horribly ever after.

The story is well told, and I love how Shrek breaks out in rhyme at the sight of his princess. The words flow well, and the book is fun to read out loud.

The illustrations of Shrek are, by necessity, ugly. Even more so than the movie. That said, they are also cute, though not in the huggable/loveable sense. The illustrations are colorful, fun, and expressive. A great book, even if (or especially since?) it isn't the movie.

Loggie-log-log-log
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "starryhawk" on October 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
I loved this book long before the dumb old movie came out and I knew I'd be sorely disappointed if they didn't get it right and turn the magic from the book onto the screen.... and while it was annoying that they made Shrek's 'ugly' wife so cute even in ogre form (I guess they were afraid to really make her ugly like in the book, the only thing I see about her when she turns ogre is she's heavier and being heavy doesn't make a person ugly) the whole moral behind Steig's story is "Accept yourself just the way you are" or something along the lines of "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and the movie, while funny with great voice actors, really messes with that moral.... Princess Fiona is the thin archetype of today's societal idea of beauty while her 'ogre' form is a heavyset, still cute, yet inferred to as ugly form of herself.... not only that, but Shrek does not accept himself the way he is during the movie... the funniest part about the book is Shrek's complete confidence and love of his own 'flaws' (or what others see as flaws in him) the illustrations aren't primitive at all. They are charming and wonderful...and couldn't possibly be improved upon... If you want the movie go see it, if you want something better- read the book.... especially if you like a bad pun now and then. William Steig is a genious. I wish the movie hadn't been made because now this wonderful book will be compared to it - and it should never have had to be more charming than Mike Meyer's or Cameran Diaz or Eddie Murphy's jokes. It stands on it's own apart from the movie... Steig's book was really too cool for him to sell away the rights to the storyline and let them screw it up the way they did. In otherwords: read the book, love the book....Read more ›
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By H. Blonsky on January 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
For Pete's sake, doesn't anyone read books anymore?? NO, it's not the movie. It's a book. This book is loosely related to the movie, but it is not the movie, it is completely different. And if first graders can't figure out that there are books that don't reflect movies word for word then I despair for our educational system.

My five year old asked to see the movie and I required that he let me read him the book first. He thought the book was hysterical (it was THE bedtime book for a week), he thought the movie was great, and he was completely clear on the point that they were done separately. Same with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (great book, great movie, barely related plots and characters), same with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, same with a lot of great books and the movies that Disney (et al) makes of them.

Steig in general does a good job with the picture book format plus a more challenging vocabulary. I really enjoy reading his books -- they're not dumbed down, and they really use the language to its best effect. It means that there are probably not a ton of kids who can read them themselves at the age they're most likely to appreciate them, but that's what makes for great readalouds. Poetic, well-written, and silly, all together. Doctor De Soto is another favorite, as well as Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. They're all excellent books, with or without multi-million dollar movies made after them.
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