Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty? gives us five fairy tale cases: a break-in at the home of the Bear family, the case of the death of a witch who lived in a gingerbread house, the title case, the case of a beauty pageant involving Snow White and the Queen, and the case of Jack and that beanstalk. A toad in a fedora has to solve the crimes.
The book is more of a read-aloud for kids as young as 7. It's really geared more towards the 8-to-10 crowd. Not only is the text small (usually an easy way to guess a picture book's intended audience), but the whole thing's a satire. Satire goes right over the heads of most younger readers. But for those slightly older kids--and their parents--this book is a must-read.
Here's how Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty begins:
"There are eight million stories in the forest. This is one of them. It was a typical Sunday morning for the Bear family. They had gone out for a walk while their porridge was cooling. I was working the robbery detail out of the Pinecone Division. My name's Binky. I'm a cop."
As always, John Nickle's illustrations are just right. I especially like the page on which Officer Binky is taking notes from the three Bears. He's standing in front of a layered tower of bears--so all in one shape we have Binky (back to us) in front of Baby Bear, who's in front of taller Mrs. Bear, who's in front of taller Mr. Bear. All three bears are frowning and pointing one accusing clawed paw in the direction of the page on the other side of the spread. That page is divided in four. The first three frames contain the following clues: A strand of blond hair, an empty porridge bowl, blue cloth on a broken chair, and a rumpled quilt. The last frame shows Binky driving off. (He's barely tall enough to see over the steering wheel.) He says, "I'd heard that story before. It could only be one dame: Goldilocks! I nabbed her trying to make her getaway." The perp has an excuse, but she ends up in jail just the same.
The other cases are also presented with panache. Hansel and Gretel's encounter with the witch is told after the fact using sepia illustrations, a nice touch. The Humpty Dumpty mystery has an un-egg-spected solution. Setting the Snow White story in a beauty pageant gives the tale a whole new twist. And then there's Jack. I'll bet you think you know where that one's going, but you're probably wrong.
Meet Binky. And read his case files. You'll like them.
We loved this book. It explores different fairy tales but for a criminal/detective view. The creativity leads to discussion that can be explored at different ages and comprehension levels. Great to add the idea of perspective and view point to children's literature.
I read this book to my seven year old grandson. We both laughed at the humorous side of the stories; and we discussed the right and wrong aspects of some of the old fairy tales. I would recommend this book to all who want to get across some educational value and yet enjoy the book, too. Good book!
I just like the idea of seeing the nursery rhymes or fairy tales or kids stories told from a different perspective. These stories are great for adults to read and get some laughs. Let me know if you have any other books like this.
This book is hilarious. It helps to know about older TV shows to understand the references. The children lover the great illustrations but the adults get the jokes. It is a good book to read to children because it is entertaining for the grownup reader as well.