- Age Range: 4 - 8 years
- Grade Level: Preschool - 3
- Lexile Measure: 550 (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 40 pages
- Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (October 3, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1626726825
- ISBN-13: 978-1626726826
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.5 x 11.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 241 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) Hardcover – October 3, 2017
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Humpty Dumpty, a spindly-limbed pale egg, copes with anxiety after his "Great Fall." Though his shell has mostly healed, a newfound fear of heights prevents him from enjoying his birdwatching, and even from choosing the delicious cereal on the top shelf at the store. But he still yearns for the skies, and Santat employs a variety of striking perspectives to help readers appreciate the enormity of Humpty's isolation and distance from his goal. Determined not to give up his favorite hobby, Humpty builds a model plane—Santat milks the humor of the frustrated, fastidious egg during a design sequence—that soars across the sky. When another, lesser accident occurs, Humpty must conquer his nerves or give up on flying. Santat's straightforward language throughout acknowledges the gravity of Humpty's fears without edging into melodrama; the short, declarative sentences that mark his anxious climb back onto the wall are rousing in their simplicity. (The backlit egg's triumphant posture doubles down on the text.) Many readers might have considered the ascent an adequate end, but Santat indulges in one more high note when the reformed shell cracks anew and releases an exultant bird. VERDICT 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.—Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NY
“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)
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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.
But most of the people considering this book are buying it because they want to give it to or read it to a child. I'm happy to report that this book passes that test, too. My 6 year old loved it and took it to school to share with his classmates. (His teacher like it too, by the way.)
The bottom line is that to me this feels like a new classic. It's hard to predict which books will make it onto the list of "great picture books" and stay there, but I think this one will. It has an important message (delivered without too much preachiness) and beautiful artwork. I love it.