The Odious Ogre

The Odious Ogre

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by Norton Juster, Jules Feiffer
     
 

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The author and the illustrator of THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH--together again!

This is the story of a really rotten Ogre who is extraordinarily large, exceedingly ugly, unusually angry, constantly hungry, and absolutely merciless. He terrorizes the entire countryside and all the surrounding towns, wreaking havoc, sowing confusion, and dining happily on the hapless

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Overview

The author and the illustrator of THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH--together again!

This is the story of a really rotten Ogre who is extraordinarily large, exceedingly ugly, unusually angry, constantly hungry, and absolutely merciless. He terrorizes the entire countryside and all the surrounding towns, wreaking havoc, sowing confusion, and dining happily on the hapless citizens. Nothing can stop him. But then he takes a wrong turn and encounters a kind and friendly young lady who does her best to help him--with a surprising result.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After a nearly 50-year wait, Juster’s reunion with his Phantom Tollbooth collaborator Feiffer is squarely in keeping with their earlier fairy tale drollery. Feiffer’s ogre, scrawled in scribbly brown outline, snores on his back in a forest of Lilliputian trees in one spread, then strides off in search of a snack in the next. (Feiffer often draws him from the boots up, the better to convey his massive size.) The ogre’s victims usually cower hopelessly before him, but this time, the specimen he encounters--a slim, wide-eyed young woman in a long blue dress--undoes him with kindness. “Oh, you’re not really so terrible,” she says sweetly. “I’ll bet if you brushed your teeth, combed your hair, found some new clothes, and totally changed your attitude you’d be quite nice.” The ogre’s mighty tantrum shakes the forest, but she remains calm. “Would you consider doing that for the orphans’ picnic next week? I know the children would love it.” The ogre’s speedy exit--he drops dead--is a bit of a throwaway, but Juster’s narrative insouciance and Feiffer’s pen and brush haven’t lost their magic. All ages. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The odious Ogre is a terrible creature indeed. Since no one has encountered him and survived, he is sure he is invincible. One day he arrives, hungry, at a small, out-of-the-way cottage, where a young girl who has not heard of him is working in her garden. Although he stamps and roars, she is unmoved. She simply invites him in for a cup of tea, telling him he is not so terrible. The Ogre is confused and humiliated. "How can I live if I can't ravage and plunder?" he wonders. As he starts to leave, she offers him a tasty muffin. He tries mightily one more time to frighten her. She only applauds. He finally keels over and expires. When the townspeople come to bury him, the girl still does not understand the fuss. Her kind treatment of the Ogre, just like her treatment of everyone, was too frightening for him to bear. The entertaining text is full of the satisfying words the Ogre savors, having swallowed a large dictionary along with a librarian. Transparent watercolors, almost casually applied, at first fill the pages with the Ogre's antics; later they add delicate drawings of the maiden in her flower garden. Feiffer ably depicts the mounting angry frustration of the villain. The textless double-page display of eight gyrations may convince us of his potency but it does not seem to faze our heroine. There is surely a lesson here. Do not miss the contrasting jacket and cover. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—There is nothing as satisfying as a job well done, and this ogre is beyond satisfied. In fact, he doesn't have to do anything anymore to scare the villagers. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, however, he goes about his business of snacking on them whenever the mood strikes him. Until one day, that is, when he comes upon a beautiful girl in the forest, and she is not afraid of him in the slightest. She sees beyond his odor and hideous face and assumes he is a good person at heart. She offers him tea and muffins and extends every kindness that she can think of. Thrown off guard, the ogre tries every trick he knows to frighten her but nothing will rattle this optimistic young girl. The befuddled and frustrated ogre tromps off through the forest and, well, the odious ogre is no more. Juster's language and imagery are playful throughout. For example, he describes the villagers' unsuccessful attempt at hiding from the ogre by noting that they "stuffed their ears with stale cake." What child won't chuckle at that image? Later, the ogre complains that the girl is not "the docile dumpling he expected." The ogre is correct; she is no docile dumpling. Feiffer's loose, colorful sketches are as cartoony as this over-the-top story demands. The text is a bit long for storyhour but the clever repartee and fun illustrations make up for that in spades.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Kirkus Reviews

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)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545162029
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
09/01/2010
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
577,158
Product dimensions:
9.48(w) x 12.34(h) x 0.38(d)
Lexile:
AD880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

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