Review: After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again)

After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again)
by Dan Santat
Published by Roaring Brook Press (October 3, 2017)
Ages 4 – 8

My Rating: 5 Stars


The original Humpty Dumpty story, like many old nursery rhymes, came about because of an historical event. It wasn’t really written for children at all, until Lewis Carroll adapted it, giving us the egg character we know today in Through the Looking Glass. Luckily, talented writers these days have more freedom than ever before to put new endings on stories of old to give them true relevance in our time.

After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again)
, by Dan Santat, takes a nursery rhyme that could be viewed as a cautionary tale (don’t take risks, you’ll probably fall and hurt yourself beyond repair) and gives it a new ending with the opposite message (conquering your fears, especially after failing, is the only way to live freely and reach your potential).

Written in the voice of Humpty Dumpty himself, we get to know just how the fear of falling again makes him feel and how it holds him back from doing the one thing he loves most: bird watching.

When I think of great children’s books, they all have one thing in common – the ability to convey the essential parts of the story, like a conflict that pulls you in and resolution that is emotionally satisfying, with just a few sentences and images. After the Fall moves effortlessly through the stages of a great story with emotional resonance and relatability.

After the Fall is a gentle reminder that when fear is allowed to rule, it prevents us from becoming who we are meant to be, whether that’s a soaring bird or simply a happy human being. It’s a terrific message for preschoolers, kindergartners and parents.

Other stories by Dan Santat:

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