Shrek! was a standout among children’s books long before it became a famous movie. The now classic story was written by William Steig, the Caldecott Award-winning author and illustrator of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.

No one can help loving Shrek, the ugliest monster ever. Animals large and small flee from his path, but readers delight in his charm and wit. Shrek has the time of his life exploring and living his life. He is proud of his appearance. So when a soothsaying witch tells him that he will one day marry a princess that his even more hideous looking than himself, he is delighted! He sets out in search of his bride. When they finally meet, they shower each other with loving praise and mutual admiration. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder!

As in any great heroic tale, our hero meets friends along the way. His donkey and dragon comrades add much levity to the already hilarious story. This is Steig doing what he does best. Readers will bounce along with the smart banter and eagerly cheer for the gentle giant as he weds his princess.

This is an excellent self-esteem builder for young readers and will help them learn to persevere on life’s bumpy road. It can show children that looks are not always important; it’s the heart of the individual and the deeds he/she performs that make up the true character that counts the most in life. This book and its story were obviously popular enough for a movie to be created about it. The movie has enjoyed tremendous success and it’s all because an “underdog” of sorts wins the day. Children will love being able to cheer for the hero of the story.

Steig’s artwork is genius and adds tremendous fun and wackiness to the already farsical tale. It is clear that Steig had as good a time creating the book as readers will have reading it. The author puts a great deal of commitment and dedication into the telling of every tale, always ensuring that the stories are fun as well as meaningful. That makes for the best learning experiences.


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