The book
The Book Cover
 General Information
Pages 32
Genre Fantasy
 Production Information
Published October 17, 1990
Author William Steig
Editor Unknown
Publisher Square Fish
Preceded by: Succeeded by:
Spinky Sulks Shrek! Strutters and Fretters
You may be looking for Shrek (character) or Shrek (film) .

Shrek! is a children's book written by the late William Steig and published in 1990. The book then spawned the DreamWorks Animation film eleven years later, which spawned a billion dollar movie franchise.


A troublemaking green ogre named Shrek sets off on a journey to meet an unseemly princess with help from a witch and a talking donkey.

Characters & Differences From The Book[]

  • Shrek: A nasty green ogre who is the main character in the book. He is abandoned by his parents in the beginning. Later on, he meets a witch who tells him about an unsightly princess. He travels all over the place to meet her, getting directions from a talking donkey. Unlike his film counterpart, this version of Shrek can swallow lightning, has laser vision and can breathe fire. He also likes to cause trouble, terrorize everyone in sight, and has none of the heroic traits that his film counterpart does.
  • The Witch: She is the witch who informs Shrek about the Ogre Princess and her castle. The witch was supposed to be appear in the first film with the same role, but she got dropped during production.
  • Donkey: A talking donkey that helps Shrek throughout his journey. The book's version of Donkey has a rather minor role and seems a lot more competent compared to his film counterpart.
  • The Princess: She is an unseemly princess who is waiting to meet Shrek. The book's version of Fiona is an actual ogre princess, rather than a cursed human princess like the movie's version of Fiona.
  • The Peasant: Shrek meets him and steals his food.
  • Dragon: She appears as the dragon in the woods. Dragon tries to attack Shrek, but he laughs at her and she falls unconscious. In this version, Shrek encounters Dragon before he encounters Donkey and she does not meet him at all.

References to the Book in the Films[]

While the movies have hardly anything in common with the book (besides Shrek, Donkey, Fiona and Dragon), there are still some subtle references to the source material. In a scene from Shrek Forever After, the ogres on the wanted posters are drawn in the style of the original book. In particular, Fiona's poster bears a striking resemblance to Shrek's face on the book's cover. An ogre who looks like the original illustration of Shrek can be seen in Fiona’s army as a callback. Shrek's parents are seen at the beginning of the story, although they have never appeared in any of the films except for the musical and a comic story (both of which adapt the opening in the book where they kick him out). However, Shrek talked about what his father was like when he grew up in a conversation between Shrek and Artie in Shrek the Third. Finally, a dedication to William Steig, the original author of the book, was seen at the end of Shrek 2, since he died around the time of the film. Also, William’s son, Jeremy voices the Pied Piper in the fourth film.