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  • published by Square Fish
  • Written By: William Steig
  • Illustrated By: N/A
  • We recommend this book for
    ages 3 and up


Read-it-Again Score


What It Is

Before Shrek made it big on the silver screen or the Broadway stage, there was William Steig's Shrek, a book about an ogre who leaves his swampy home to go out and see the world. On his journey, he encounters a witch who tells his fortune, predicting that Shrek will meet a donkey who will take him to fight and conquer a knight. And then Shrek will wed a princess who is even uglier than Shrek. Shrek also meets other characters, stealing their food and causing them to faint or flee in his presence. Ultimately, his fortune does come true, and he marries the most stunningly ugly princess on the planet.

Why It’s Fun

If you only know Shrek from the movies and pick up this book expecting a story that is like the movie, you might be disappointed. That's not to say that you won't enjoy this picture book, but the movies and the book are very different things. The book version of Shrek is fouler and less likeable than the movie version. He's also very sure of himself, and as the book says, "full of rabid self-esteem." This is to show kids that no matter what you look like, you should accept yourself just the way you are. This is a silly book with funny illustrations and some gross-out humor that young kids will find amusing.

Who It’s For

Shrek is for ages 3–8. The book does contain several words that might be over the heads of kids in this target age range. Mom and Dad, you might want to have a dictionary handy if your child is particularly inquisitive and wants to know what scythe, blithe, varlet, and others mean.

What To Be Aware Of

This book is available in Kindle, hardcover, paperback, and audio CD versions. Each is sold separately.


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