Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Author: William Steig

First line: His mother was ugly and his father was ugly, but Shrek was uglier than the two of them put together.

Why you should read this book: Yes, this is the inspiration for the Dreamworks movies, and it features an ogre, a donkey, and a princess, but the similarities end there. Forget ugly-adorable or ugliness hiding a kind personality: Steig's Shrek is gruesome and deplorable and mean and rude and he never demonstrates any positive quality (except, perhaps, determination), while the princess starts out hideous and stays that way. Shrek bests a witch, a dragon, thunder and lightning, a knight in shining armor, and his own vile reflection in pursuit of his happy ending in a crowd-pleasing tale that raises awful to an art form and doesn't sugar-coat anything.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You were hoping for something a little cuter (see above). In addition, if you're going to be uncomfortable explaining the appropriateness of the term "jackass" to your little ones, you're going to want to skip this. If that's the case, you're not hip enough for this book anyway.

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