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Last updated Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Author: William Steig
Date of Publication: 1990
ISBN: 0374368791
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2010

Synopsis: 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.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you seen the movie?
•  If you have, what do you know about Shrek?
•  How is the one on the cover different?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Vocab: Cowed, convulsion, fumes, woozy, scything, blithe, glare, tickled (context), irascible, noggin, green (context), clover, churlish knave, smite, smote, rabid, terry.
•  What are the differences between the two Shreks?
•  How is this book the same/different from other fairytales?

Craft ideas:
•  Make Shrek, Donkey, and Princess masks.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!