After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again

Dan Santat. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62672-682-6
What happened to Humpty Dumpty after his great fall? Santat’s tale about facing fear imagines a long recovery. Humpty’s lofty perch was his favorite: “I loved being close to the birds.” But after his accident, he’s scared of heights. Caldecott Medalist Santat (The Adventures of Beekle) paints him sleeping on the floor because his bunk bed is too high; sugary cereals on the topmost grocery shelf are sadly out of reach. The story is set in an otherworldly urban cityscape where billboards and telephone lines frame the spreads; emotional lows are underscored with dim shadows, while high moments are filled with warm, golden light. Humpty finds some consolation in making and flying paper airplanes, but when his plane sails over his wall, he resolves to scale it. Santat places viewers right behind Humpty during his moment of triumph, allowing them to share in it. When fear is conquered, we don’t just endure the experience, Santat contends; we become new beings. More than a nursery rhyme remix, Santat’s story speaks boldly to the grip of fear and trauma, and to the exhilaration of mastering it. Ages 4–8. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/24/2017
Release date: 10/03/2017
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