Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Children's Book Review: The Odious Ogre

The Odious OgreThe Odious Ogre by Norman Juster and Jules Feiffer (recommended for Pre School - Grade 2)

The book, by the duo who wrote and illustrated the classic The Phantom Tollbooth, has a fairy tale quality about it.  It tells the story of an ogre (of course) who terrorizes the townspeople as he storms through and swoops up people and eats them as snacks.  His reputation is legendary:
He was, it was widely believed, extraordinarily large, exceedingly ugly, unusually angry, constantly hungry and absolutely merciless.
At least, that is what everyone thought, or supposed, or had heard from someone else, or read somewhere or had on good authority from the grocer's wife nephew.
When he encounters a young woman who doesn't know to be afraid of him but instead disarms him with her concern for him and her ability to see past his large, ugly exterior, the ogre is completely undone.  It is a wonderful message about the power of kindness and how seeing beyond a gruff exterior and what others believe about someone is courageous.

My 6 year old nephew and I read this book together one evening (it is a little long for that just before bed read so allow some more time) and he was captivated -  he kept asking me questions about what had happened in the story and woke up the next morning wanting to re-read the story.  I saw him go back to it a number of times over the next few days.  I am not surprised - the story is very rich - there is a lot going on in it and also in the illustrations so it lends itself well to re-reads.  The vocabulary is also very advanced so he was introduced to many new words. Another classic from Juster and Feiffer!


  1. I didn't realize this was going to be a book for such young children. I am still pleased to see it exists of course! But I was hoping for it to be, oh, longer. Like a thousand pages or possibly neverending.

  2. I'll have to read this one to Booking Son. He's the exact same age! Thanks for sharing!

  3. We put this one on our blog a few weeks ago. My 5-year-old really liked it.