Books by William Steig

TOBY, WHO ARE YOU? by William Steig
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 1, 2004

"The creature hisses, spits and snarls'—but the dissonance rescues the episode from being just a remake of Louis Slobodkin's Magic Michael (1944) and its descendants. (Picture book. 5-7)"
The late Steig follows Toby, Where Are You? (1997) and Toby, What Are You? (2000) with similarly imagination-stretching family interaction. Read full book review >
WHEN EVERYBODY WORE A HAT by William Steig
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: April 1, 2003

"Next to that whippersnapper James Stevenson's When I Was Nine (1986), but still distant, generation, not much more than the bare hint that Steig, too, was young. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Between portrait photos taken almost nine decades apart, Steig crustily introduces his Mom, his Pop, and his childhood world—a world where "there were almost no electric lights, cars or telephones—and definitely no TV." Read full book review >
POTCH & POLLY by William Steig
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 30, 2002

"The one missing piece of her pie'—gives the essentially adult tale the air of a sophisticated valentine, but perceptive younger readers will also catch the tenderness underlying this rocky, slapstick romance. (Picture book. 7-9)"
Agee (Milo's Hat Trick, 2001, etc.) illustrates this comic take on the course of true love never running smooth with clownish flair. Read full book review >
WHICH WOULD YOU RATHER BE? by William Steig
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2002

"EWSLUGp1978 showcases an up-and-coming illustrator with plenty of promise. (Picture book. 5-9)"
One New Yorker cartoonist gives a younger (of course, Methuselah would be younger) one a chance to show his chops. Read full book review >
A GIFT FROM ZEUS by Jeanne Steig
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: June 30, 2001

"Readers already familiar with the stories will enjoy these somewhat skewed renditions immensely. (Mythology. 12+)"
The Steigs follow up A Handful of Beans: Six Fairy Tales (1998) with tales of heroic deeds, passionate love, mistreated women, and Olympian hanky-panky from an older tradition. Read full book review >
TOBY, WHAT ARE YOU? by William Steig
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 31, 2001

"EWSLUGp1997 has doubtless appeal, this one isn't as clever as the first and the longevity of that appeal is not so indubitable. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Steig is a master—if not the master—of turning on the endearment juices without getting sloppy about it. Read full book review >
WIZZIL by William Steig
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 23, 2000

"Sophisticated, they are never over the heads of the children and the adults who will enjoy Wizzil together. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Revenge can backfire as Wizzil the witch finds out in Steig's irreverent morality tale. Read full book review >
MADE FOR EACH OTHER by William Steig
A HANDFUL OF BEANS by Jeanne Steig
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 30, 1998

"Fans of James Marshall's droll takes on some of the same chestnuts, such as Red Riding Hood (1987), will appreciate this small, poised gathering. (Folklore. 8-10)"
Many of the characters in these standards break into jingles—"Hansel skinny or Hansel fat, / He shall be eaten, and that is that"—at pivotal moments; otherwise, the stories are traditional versions, lightly massaged to bring out their humorous or ironic aspects. Read full book review >
PETE'S A PIZZA by William Steig
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 31, 1998

"As always, Steig's illustrations are a natural—an organic—part of the story, whether Pete's a pizza, or not. (Picture book. 5-10)"
Steig (Toby, Where Are You?, 1997, etc.), inspired by a game he used to play with his daughter, turns a rainy day into a pizza party, starring a caring father and his feeling-blue son, Pete. Read full book review >
TOBY, WHERE ARE YOU? by William Steig
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 28, 1997

"It's a charmer, for a younger audience than Steig's usual. (Picture book. 3-5)"
From early sunlit morning to candlelit evening, Toby's parents search for him throughout the house. Read full book review >
THE TOY BROTHER by William Steig
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 30, 1996

"Another crowd pleaser. (Picture book. 5-7)"
Steig (Grown-ups Get to Do All the Driving, p. 640, etc.) is in fine form in this tale of the alchemist's children. Read full book review >
GROWN-UPS GET TO DO ALL THE DRIVING by William Steig
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 1995

"Even minor Steig is memorable. (Picture book. 5-7)"
Required reading for all children who have ever grumbled that "grownups get to have all the fun." Read full book review >
ZEKE PIPPIN by William Steig
Released: Nov. 14, 1994

"Steig's golden touch shines on. (Fiction/Picture book. 3+)"
Zeke Pippin, a pig, happens across a harmonica. Read full book review >
ALPHA BETA CHOWDER by Jeanne Steig
Released: Oct. 30, 1992

"Not to be missed. (Poetry/Picture book. 5+)"
In the marvelously witty style of Consider the Lemming (1988), an alphabet of comical verses, each peppered with its prevailing letter: satirical portraits ("Noisome Naomi" is a "nightmare,/She's nervy as a newt./Her ma and pa are nitwits- -/They think Naomi's cute"), sardonic dramas, and other succinctly penned nonsense. Read full book review >
DOCTOR DE SOTO GOES TO AFRICA by William Steig
Released: June 30, 1992

"The last page hints that the mice will continue to explore 'our beautiful planet.' (Picture book. 3+)"
Mudambo, an elephant, has a terrible toothache; all expenses will be paid if the De Sotos will come. Read full book review >
SHREK! by William Steig
Released: Oct. 17, 1990

"Not since Briggs's Fungus the Bogeyman (1979) has there been such an original—and comical—reexamination of the reverse world of monsterdom."
In Steig's inimitable style—imaginative whimsy with a strong dose of mellow common sense—here's an antihero for the young: green-headed Shrek, described as rather uglier than he's pictured, begins his quest for a still-uglier princess by "slogging along the road, giving off his awful fumes" after his parents have "hissed things over" and "kicked him goodbye." Read full book review >
SPINKY SULKS by William Steig
Released: Oct. 31, 1988

"Steig recounts this bit of realia with a splendid array of vivid words, comfortably arranged in colloquial cadences; his illustrations amplify the deft characterizations and nuances with warmth and impeccable design."
Spinky has such an exaggerated case of the sulks that the most confirmed pouter (unless similarly engaged at the moment) will see its humor, even while empathizing with Spinky's stubbornness. Read full book review >
THE ZABAJABA JUNGLE by William Steig
Released: Oct. 7, 1987

"This may be Kafka's benign flip side, but why not just relax and enjoy it?"
A boy has a dreamlike adventure in a mellow, fantastic, inimitably Steig-imagined jungle. Read full book review >
BRAVE IRENE by William Steig
Kirkus Star
illustrated by William Steig
Released: Oct. 22, 1986

"A thoroughly satisfying picture book from this producer of both Newbery and Caldecott Honor books."
Irene Bobbin, dressmaker's daughter, tucks her ill mother comfortably in bed and sets out through a storm to deliver a ball gown to the duchess; despite an interfering wind and heavy snow, she makes it. Read full book review >
SOLOMON THE RUSTY NAIL by William Steig
Released: Dec. 1, 1985

"Steig continues to create enchanting pictures in the style that has brought him international popularity."
In yet another delightfully inventive picture book, Steig combines a tale of uncanny transformation with his distinctively animated illustrations. Read full book review >
YELLOW AND PINK by William Steig
Released: June 1, 1984

"With a yellow- and a pink-tinted figure in a gray-toned landscape, this is no eye-dazzler—but the kind of child to be, curious about who they are and why they're there is just the kind to appreciate the metaphysics and incidental perplexities here."
The mystery of First Causes—with almost as little overt action, almost as much querying dialogue as a Beckett one-acter. . . until the snap-close. Read full book review >
DOCTOR DE SOTO by William Steig
Released: Nov. 12, 1982

"Simple but sly, a mischievously imaginative rendition of the classic theme."
In this captivating story of a mouse dentist, Steig sets his stage according to the ludicrous logic of size discrepancy that intrigues children: to treat large animals (such as the pig shown), Dr. De Sore stands on a ladder; and for extra-large animals (a donkey is pictured), he is hoisted up on a pulley contraption by his wife/assistant. Read full book review >
GORKY RISES by William Steig
Kirkus Star
illustrated by William Steig
Released: Nov. 8, 1981

"Like Gorky, who seems to float inertly through the clouds, Steig treats the most remarkable events with aplomb, tossing them off as all in a day's dreamwork."
This might not be the most psychologically resonant of Steig's picture books, but who can resist his unlikely transformations, flatly related marvels, and dabs of elementary humor? Read full book review >
TIFFKY DOOFKY by William Steig
Released: Nov. 6, 1978

"But who's to quibble, when the whole is as good-naturedly loose as Tiffky Doofky himself, as arbitrary as vindictive magic—or falling in love."
Steig can dress a floppy-eared, benign-looking dog in vest, armbands, and bow tie, give him the somehow perfectly suitable name of Tiffky Doofky, make him a jolly garbage collector on his way to a picnic—and who can resist going along? Read full book review >
CALEB AND KATE by William Steig
Released: Oct. 31, 1977

"No reincarnation of Sylvester despite the similar transformation, this plain frontier couple is touching in its own frumpy way, and this amusing sad story is beguiling as only Steig can make it."
Caleb the carpenter and Kate the weaver loved each other, but not every single minute"—and it's after one of their fiercest quarrels, with Kate screaming "odious insults" and Caleb storming away from the "cantankerous hoddy-doddy," that witch Yedida finds the husband sleeping in the forest and decides to test a new spell. Read full book review >
THE AMAZING BONE by William Steig
Released: Nov. 26, 1976

"And, with an Easter egg palette (even more fanciful than Sylvester's) that we'd never have thought had the punch, he makes his springtime scenes as fresh and enticing as she clearly found them."
What are we to make of this meeting between a lolling young girl, overcome with love for "everything" and "almost feel(ing) herself changing into a flower," and a wonderful talking bone that she finds in the forest? Read full book review >
ABEL'S ISLAND by William Steig
Released: June 4, 1976

"Steig, almost insidiously, wins you at once to this pampered, untried mouse, and then you grow along with him as he makes himself fit for the world."
Early in August of 1907 newlywed mice Abel and Amanda are enjoying a genteel picnic when "it" is so inconsiderate as to storm. Read full book review >
FARMER PALMER'S WAGON RIDE by William Steig
Released: Oct. 1, 1974

"Steig's unflappably matter-of-fact tone goes false only once (as the tree descends on pig and ass, 'both realized they would rather not die at that particular time'), and though this lacks the expansive warmth of his previous picture books, the cumbersome maneuvers of this ludicrous duo bring some mild, mock-rustic diversion to the artist's usual bracing, sunny countryside."
As overalled, suspendered Farmer Palmer is a pig, there's no reason why the ass he hitches to his wagon shouldn't be introduced as Ebenezer, his "hired hand," or why the two shouldn't chat on their way to market — except perhaps that Farmer Palmer is clothed in the picture-book convention of human animals and the ass isn't. Read full book review >
THE REAL THIEF by William Steig
Released: July 15, 1973

"Still somehow remorseful, Derek at last returns all the stolen items, finds Gawain in his forest hideout, and confesses to him; Gawain in turn forgives both the King and Derek, whom he never exposes, and the whole affair ends in a rush of typically Steigian good nature (immeasurably extended by the line and wash drawings) that it is impossible to resist."
Gawain the goose, a conscientious guard who alone holds keys to the royal treasury, is astounded when the finest jewels begin to disappear but even more shocked when he himself is accused of the crime by the King, a gruff, fatherly bear whom he has served and loved. Read full book review >
DOMINIC by William Steig
Released: Jan. 1, 1972

"To know Dominic is to share his high spirits, and the clean perfection of Steig's prose enlarges the pleasure."
Dominic, a lively and expansive hound, leaves home to see more of the world and is soon engaged in a series of wide open encounters. Read full book review >
AMOS & BORIS by William Steig
Released: Oct. 15, 1971

"Amos' feat is perhaps less satisfying than that of Aesop's mouse who gnaws the lion's ropes without any help from his oversized friends, but there is no question that Steig's affectionately witty pictures and perfectly complementary narration make this a durable picture book friendship."
Deftly proportioned and disarmingly matter-of-fact, the story of a friendship between Amos, an adventurous mouse who goes to sea "full of wonder, full of enterprise, and full of love for life," and Boris, the accommodating whale who rescues Amos from drowning and carries him home on his back. Read full book review >
AN EYE FOR ELEPHANTS by William Steig
Released: Oct. 28, 1970

"Likable, then, but less than practical as a read-aloud, there being more to the verses than to the pictures, or for independent reading, there being just too many of them."
Not just an eye for elephants but a whale of an appetite for them: thirty-five variations on the rhyme "I asked my mother for fifty cents/ To see the elephant jump the fence. . . ." Read full book review >
THE BAD ISLAND by William Steig
Released: Sept. 15, 1969

"Actually this is not so much a parable in pictures as a pictured parable, or a labeled, labored lesson."
On Steig's "rotten, horrible, awful, burning hot, freezing-cold and rocky island," the first flower is as potent as Thurber's last flower. Read full book review >
SYLVESTER AND THE MAGIC PEBBLE by William Steig
Released: March 1, 1969

"How Mother and Father Duncan (donkey), despairing of finding their son, do eventually break the red pebble's spell and bring back Sylvester is a fable of happy families of all breeds."
Sylvester's "only chance of becoming himself again was for someone to find the red pebble and to wish that the rock next to it would be a donkey"—surely the prize predicament of the year and, in William Steig's pearly colors, one of the prettiest. Read full book review >
DREAMS OF GLORY by William Steig
Released: Oct. 19, 1953

"And you probably like them too, because they are funny."
Steig's more-than-doodlings, which have delighted New Yorker readers who see themselves as kids reflected in his pictorial comments on the inner mind, in book form. Read full book review >
TILL DEATH DO US PART by William Steig
Released: Feb. 25, 1947

"For fans."
The inimitable Steig illustrating a series of marital cliches, situations, in his brand of X-ray, outraged drawings. Read full book review >
ALL EMBARRASSED by William Steig
Released: June 16, 1944

"These symbolic drawings are for the epicure rather than the public popularly conditioned to caricature."
Companion pieces to The Lonely Ones, for the special collectors of this artist, followers of psychological urrealism, in 101 pages of all kinds of embarrassment. Read full book review >
ABOUT PEOPLE by William Steig
Released: April 21, 1944

"Duell, Sloan & Pearce have had a phenomenal success with The Lonely Ones, so now are reissuing this as a companion volume."
Published originally by Random House in 1939 — long out of print and bringing in its original edition fabulous prices. Read full book review >

"You don't have to read this."
Companion volume to The Lonely Ones, which since publication in '42 has been reprinted 12 times. Read full book review >

"His 'small fry' cartoons are amonghis best, and this small volume is made up of a selection of124, in different categories, good for many a chuckle and afew belly laughs."
The Lonely Ones, About People and All Embarrassed haverolled up substantial sales for the publishers of thisfavorite of cartoonists. Read full book review >

"Although angled to a circumscribed cosmopolitan audience, the Lonely Ones market which is large and vocal may be depended upon for this one."
Now that the nervous little haywires of The Lonely Ones have seeped into the American consciousness as far as they can go, and have been immortalized on ashtrays and cocktail napkins, the time is indeed ripe for another excursion into neurotics by the New Yorker cartoonist, famed as the creator of psycho-analytical portraits and Small Fry. Read full book review >