cover image The Odious Ogre

The Odious Ogre

Norton Juster, illus. by Jules Feiffer, Scholastic/di Capua, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-16202-9

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.)