Shrek! is a picture book written and illustrated in 1990 by William Steig about a young ogre who finds the ogre of his dreams when he leaves home to see the world.. Macmillan. 2008. Retrieved August 14, 2010. The name "Shrek" is derived from the German and Yiddish word שרעק "Schreck"/"Shreck", literally meaning "fear, terror." The book served as the basis for the popular Shrek film series over a decade after its publication.