FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. When Awful Ogre has an awful day, he thinks it's simply marvelous--and readers of all ages will, too.
How awful is this green-haired, one-eyed ogre? So awful his name is Awful Ogre. Fortunately, he takes some time out of his awfully busy ogre schedule to describe his routine, poem by poem, from the moment his pet rattlesnake awakens him to a touching bedtime scene--as rhythmic and tender as Goodnight Moon
, but with scorpions and cacti. As it turns out, the ogre has many delightful hobbies, from dancing ("I dance with abandon, / Bravura, and zest, / I carom off boulders / And beat on my chest") to singing "stirring ogre melodies" to bone collecting to boasting to watching TV. He is particularly proud of his centuries-old garden:
Because of my ramshackle patches
Where scrofulous weeds rule unchecked,
I've earned from the trolls and the goblins
A measure of grudging respect.
Jack Prelutsky, creator of more than 30 books of verse, is clearly in his element here, though he claims that "Any resemblance between Awful Ogre and the poet is purely coincidental." And, Paul O. Zelinsky, who received the 1998 Caldecott Medal for Rapunzel
explodes into zany genius in this gruesomely gorgeous picture book, perfect for any 8-year-old boy in the peak of his giddy gross-out phase. We could spend hours scouring the pages for tiny details, lovingly etched by Zelinsky, from a tiny protesting man in a fish food container next to a piranha to the artful steam above the ogre's bowl of scream of wheat. This book is a masterpiece. He may smell of weasel grease, drink gargoyle bile, eat scrambled legs, and grow carnivorous roses, but Awful Ogre is a friend your kids won't mind having. (Ages 6 and older) --Karin Snelson>