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Review: Shrek Forever After: the Prequel

If you’ve seen the new Shrek Forever After movie, then you might be wondering why Rumpelstiltskin was so mad at our favorite green ogre at the beginning of the movie. Well, all your answers are here in Shrek Forever After: the Prequel, along with two bonus stories featuring Donkey and the Gingerbread Man in new adventures.

Shrek Forever After: The Prequel
Authors: Scott Shaw!, Matt Anderson, Jason M. Burns
Pencils and Inks: Drew Rausch, Mikhail Drujic, Rob Reilly
Colors: JM Ringuet, Jay Moyano, Paul Little
Letters: Jason Arthur
Cover: Robb Mommaerts, Rolando Mallada
Ages: 9-12
Ape Entertainment/Kizoic, May 2010, ISBN: 9781934944851
52 pages, $6.95

I have to admit that I’m rarely a fan of movie spin-off books. However, I am a Shrek fan, so despite any misgivings, I was eager to read Shaw and company’s stories. The first tale, “Rumpelstiltskin’s Revenge,” is the strongest, which is a good thing, since that’s the one that is going to sell this comic to other Shrek fans.The story is from Rumpelstiltskin’s perspective, giving his reasons for why he hates Shrek and showing him attempting–again and again without success–to get Shrek locked into a contract which will spell his doom. While kid readers might not get some of Rumpelstiltskin’s disguises–the Yiddish movie director, the Richard Simmons clone–they’ll definitely get the fart jokes, and there are a lot of them. Readers who have already seen Shrek Forever After will enjoy the new back story, but even readers who haven’t seen the movie will chuckle a little at Rumpelstiltskin’s antics and Shrek’s obliviousness.

The second story, “The Lost Flute,” is a reworking of the Pied Piper story. Donkey gets caught up in helping Pied Piper get a new flute and, as so often happens in the Shrek universe, disaster occurs. Donkey’s cheerfulness contrasts nicely with Pied Piper’s rather sinister attitude and the theme of revenge also appears, tying the story together with the first tale. The third tale, “The Cookie Monster,” falls rather flat, despite some cute moments. The ogre baker from Shrek Forever After makes her comic debut, helping and being helped by Gingerbread Man, but there is no introduction to her, so if you haven’t seen the movie, then you won’t know who she is.

Though each story is written and illustrated by different creators, they all blend smoothly together. One addition that would have helped with the flow would be to add chapter dividers between the stories to allow the readers’ eyes and brains to transition more easily. But the colors are bright enough to be recognizable as part of the Shrek world, while also subtle enough to keep them from seeming garish or overly childish. There is plenty of movement within the simple square and rectangular panels, keeping the stories flowing nicely. As this is just a movie spin-off book, it’s not a first pick for purchase in my mind. However, for a movie spin-off it is competently done and will definitely appeal to the target audience, so if you want to add something a little fluffier to your collection, this isn’t a bad choice.

This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Ape Entertainment.

Snow Wildsmith About Snow Wildsmith

Snow Wildsmith is a writer and former teen librarian. She has served on several committees for the American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association, including the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She reviews graphic novels for Booklist, ICv2's Guide, No Flying No Tights, and Good Comics for Kids and also writes booktalks and creates recommended reading lists for Ebsco's NoveList database. Currently she is working on her first books, a nonfiction series for teens.


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