by William Steig

Paperback, 1991



Call number




Trumpet Books (1991), Edition: First Thus, 30 pages


Horribly hideous Shrek leaves home and terrifies everyone he encounters in his search for his equally ugly bride.

User reviews

LibraryThing member kidlit9
Shrek lives the life of an ogre, smelling terrible, scaring people, and marrying a princess who is uglier than he is.
LibraryThing member ccondra
A fun book to read when learning about poems. Also would be good to read during halloween.
LibraryThing member sdglenn
Great for grades 2-5. Illustrations seem to be drawn with pastals. This book would be good for a fantasy lesson. Horribly hideous Shrek leaves home and terrifies everyone he encounters in his search for his equally ugly bride.
LibraryThing member forgeys
This is the book the movie was based on!
LibraryThing member didaly
William Steig’s antihero and his compatriots spat flame on the conservative values within the conventions of children's entertainment with this book, written in 1990. Yet Steig also riffed repeatedly on classic fairytale tradition in the book, so that his Shrek existed with one fuming foot within
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the known sphere of family entertainment, and one squarely outside of it. I liked the movies alright, but this book was and is groundbreaking in ways the films would never dare to be. Uptight parents and institutions may flinch at the "Jabbering Jackass!" comment, even if it's one of my favorite lines of all time.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
I always think of the German word "schrecklich" - meaning awful or terrible - when I run across a reference to this book, its "hero," or the film based upon them, and that seems completely appropriate (perhaps it was even intentional, on Steig's part?), as Shrek! is the story of one nasty ogre!
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Uglier even than his ugly parents, with a foul stench that causes flowers to wilt, and a penchant for letting off steam through his ears, Shrek, having been booted from his home, embarks on a quest to find his ideal mate, eventually winning the hand of "the most stunningly ugly princess on the surface of the planet," and living horribly ever after with her...

An anti-fairy-tale like no other, this slender picture-book is one I have long been meaning to read, given the critical acclaim garnered by the film that is (loosely) based upon it. I've been holding off seeing that film, until I had a chance to read Steig's original, and that seems to have been a wise choice, judging by the number of online reviews I have read, complaining that the original does not live up to its (apparently) far sweeter film adaptation. For my part, I found Shrek to be an engagingly monstrous read - perfect for young readers who like "gross" stories and humor - and although I wouldn't say it lived up to some of Steig's other titles (books like Amos & Boris, or Sylvester and the Magic Pebble), I did enjoy certain moments - like the rhyming courting scene, between Shrek and his princess! - immensely. Recommended to young readers with a taste for truly disgusting monsters, and to fans of William Steig.
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LibraryThing member Robert.Zimmermann
I see that the movie took many liberties with this story. I enjoyed the movie(s) a lot. This book, not as much. There were good parts. I like that Shrek just went around doing what he wanted, but I think it could have done with a little more something. Even for a children's story, I think it was
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lacking. Still, it's somewhat worth checking out, if only to see where the idea for the movie came from.
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LibraryThing member caseybp
A fun book to read when discovering the origins of Shrek!
LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
Although I love the vocabulary words Steig uses (blithe, irascible, putrid), and I love that Shrek is truly repulsive (unlike the movie version) I do think I, personally, prefer the movie because it's more complex, nuanced, and interesting. The horrible-ness of the illustrations make the book seem
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like a Roald Dahl story and I would recommend it to his young fans.
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LibraryThing member Stahl-Ricco
Weird, but fun to see how it all began!
LibraryThing member lissabeth21
Super fun to see the original! I love the rhymes and songs.
LibraryThing member MaowangVater
A perfectly hideous ogre goes on a quest to find his true love. After defeating a dragon, roasting a knight, and repelling everyone he meets, he finds her, and they live, "horribly ever after.
LibraryThing member jon1lambert
Is this the book that set all the films in motion? A dedication in this copy says 'fun and nonsense for Maximilian'. This just about sums it up. it is gently inspired of course by all those knights of the round table stories. Great idea.
LibraryThing member quondame
There's a donkey and a dragon, a guarded princess, but the movie was a lot better and spared me the doggerel.


Texas Bluebonnet Award (Nominee — 1993)
BAFTA Award (Winner — 2001)
Gouden Griffel (Zilveren — 1991)


Original publication date



0440845521 / 9780440845522
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