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After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) Hardcover – October 3, 2017
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“Santat gives full weight to the power of fear, which can daunt anyone who has been injured, before showing Humpty Dumpty’s eventual triumph with an inventive ending that is nothing short of exhilarating.” ―Wall Street Journal
“I was so genuinely surprised by the book's conclusion that I won't spoil it. It's always gratifying to see how an artist can turn even the most familiar tale into something new.” ―New York Times
“Dan Santat's hilariously touching story and magnificent illustrations give Humpty new life as he confronts his debilitating fear. The final twist in this totally original next chapter of a Mother Goose's classic offers a stunningly triumphant ending that will take your breath away.” ―NPR
“A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“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.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The author gives wings to both his protagonist and his message about the importance of getting back up after a fall and the realization that recovering from a trauma takes time.” ―Booklist, starred review
“Santat’s precise illustrations and sensitive text combine for more emotional depth than the typical nursery rhyme remix. A terrific redemptive read-aloud for storytime and classroom sharing.” ―School Library Journal, starred review
“Luminous.” ―Horn Book, starred review
“Authentically exhilarating.” ―The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Instead of resting on his laurels, Dan Santat soars above them. I loved this!” ―Dav Pilkey, creator of the Captain Underpants series and The Paperboy (Caldecott Honor)
About the Author
Dan Santat is the Caldecott Medal–winning and New York Times–bestselling author and illustrator of The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend and the road trip/time travel adventure Are We There Yet? His artwork is also featured in numerous picture books, chapter books, and middle-grade novels, including Dav Pilkey's Ricky Ricotta series. Dan lives in Southern California with his wife, two kids, and many, many pets.
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Random process Questions (small groups, classrooms, kids, adults, eggs, etc):
- What are you afraid of? What are some fears you have?
- Describe what it feels like. Does it feel good? Should you be afraid? Who controls you being afraid? Do you like being afraid?
- How do those fears prevent you from doing what you want, living freely, being happy, etc?
- What would it feel like if I waved a magic wand and the fear just disappeared? What would you be doing differently? How would it feel? Who would you be? How would life change?
- What did Humpty do to sidestep/ fill a void from not being able to climb the wall? Did it help? What do you do to avoid your fear from happening?
- What kind of coping skills do you use to avoid the fears you mentioned? Do they make everything better?
- Why did he climb the wall a second time?
- How was he feeling when he climbed the wall again? Have you felt like that? Why did he do it even if he was terrified?
- Tell me a story of when you were afraid of something but did it anyway.
- How did Humpty get to the point of no longer being afraid?
- How did Humpty's perception of himself change throughout the story? How did his thoughts impact his behavior?
- What pledge can you make to yourself when dealing with fear?
- When you see a friend or someone you care about dealing with fear, what do you want them to know? Now say that to yourself.
Reading other reviews of this book was interesting. We did not see it quite the same way as many. I asked my daughter to tell me in one sentence what the book was about when we finished. She is eight, and her summary was, “It is about overcoming fear so you can do great things.” Exactly, how I saw this book too. It is a subtle point but I do not think it is about overcoming failure as much as it is overcoming fear. It is not a failure to have an accident. Fear of falling again is what held Humpty back after the accident. There is a lovely, poignant picture of Humpty sleeping on the floor in the foreground. In the background we see his raised bed with a desk underneath. On the wall around his bed are taped pictures of birds. The words are moving. “Fortunately, all the king’s men managed to put me back together. Well, most of me. There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.” That is all it says. I asked my daughter to explain to me what that meant and what clues she saw in the picture that helped her understand those words. We had a great discussion.
The book goes onto to show Humpty overcoming his fear and becoming what he was always destined to be. Great, encouraging story that we both loved. We were going on and on about it so much that my husband read it next and loved it too!
The illustrations are also superb and really add poignancy to the words. My favorite illustration though was laugh-out-loud funny. We see Humpty in the grocery store at the cereal aisle. He is holding a sad cereal called BO Rings (yuck) and looking sadly up at the shelves of cereal. All the great looking and sounding cereals are on the top 2 shelves. The only cereals reachable without a ladder are pretty horrible looking and sounding. The boxes are grayish, green without a lot of color and sport names like Sad Clown, Cardboard, Twigs & Berries, Leaves, Grown-Up Food, Fiber Flakes, Bland, Flax, Bag-o-Cereal, Chia...you get the idea! The top shelf holds cereals like Fruit Hoops, Sugar Bunny, Rainbow Bites, Tiger Crunch, Just Marshmellow, Free Toy, Bowl-o-Cookies, Sugar Elf, Pirate Crunch...so funny! It made a nice comic relief.
We are probably in the minority but we did not love The Adventures of Beekle:The Unimaginary Friend but with this book Dan Santat knocks it out of the park!
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More than a typical "fractured fairy tale," this book is...Read more