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THE ODIOUS OGRE by Norton Juster


by Norton Juster & illustrated by Jules Feiffer

Age Range: 6 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-545-16202-9
Publisher: Michael di Capua/Scholastic

Move over, Shrek, there’s a new ogre in the picture-book section. This one is indeed odious—also violent, carnivorous and just generally unpleasant. He rampages through the countryside, terrorizing (and eating) the residents with impunity. Until, that is, he is utterly “confounded, overcome, and undone” by the unexpected kindness and friendly advice of a young woman who isn’t cowed by his terrible reputation and repulsive appearance. Literally, if unintentionally, killed with kindness, once he turns up his toes the previously intimidated populace immediately downplays his malevolence and thus the girl’s achievement. She doesn’t care, though; she’s too busy leading her life the way she thinks she should. Kids might not pick up on all of the philosophical overtones, but they’re sure to enjoy Juster’s rich wordplay and happily ridiculous story and Feiffer’s wonderfully scratchy and energetic watercolors of the greedy ogre, the terrified townspeople and the utterly pleasant and otherwise unremarkable heroine. A delicious morsel with which to whet the palate for other works by these giants of children’s literature. (Picture book. 6 & up)