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

Review:

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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We’re back!

You may have noticed that it’s been quite a while since my last post. A little over five months ago, our baby boy came into the world and turned our lives upside down in the best of ways.

Baby boy already loves being read to, especially at bedtime. When he was about a month old, I started reading a few of the best stories on our shelf. It didn’t take long for him to show that he had favorite pages, smiling in anticipation of some of them. Books with great rhythm and rhyme are the ones that really capture his attention.

Baby boy’s favorites:

Pirasaurs! by Josh Funk, Illustrated by Michael Slack

Read my review of Pirasaurs! here.

Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker, Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Read my review of Steam Train, Dream Train here.

I’m looking forward to writing reviews of great new books again and getting back to the conversation about children’s literature and learning.

FTC Required Disclosure: This blog features Amazon Associate links, including linked images. Purchases made through these affiliate links will result in a my receiving a small commission. This applies to all products purchased at Amazon through the link, regardless of whether or not I’ve mentioned the product on this blog.

Review: Finding Wild


Finding Wild
by Megan Wagner Lloyd
Pictures by Abigail Halpin
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (May 10, 2016)
Ages 3-7

My Rating: 4 Stars

Review:

Living in the city certainly has its perks – a short commute and access to cultural and social events, just to name a few. But, whenever I’ve lived in a city, as I do now, I’ve always had a deep yearning to keep the natural world as a part of my life. Whether it’s attempting to grow a garden in the backyard or getting out of the city every now and then, a connection to nature keeps me sane. If that connection goes unattended for too long, things get ugly. There have been times when I’ve had to make do with buying a couple of houseplants to satisfy that calling. Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd with pictures by Abigail Halpin spoke to that part of me that understands finding wild in the hidden places.

Finding Wild opens with two simple questions. “What is wild? And where can you find it?” Readers follow two children as they explore their world from top to bottom and discover that nature is everywhere, even on the urban streets where it appears, at first, to only have concrete buildings that block the sky.

In this thoughtful, quiet exploration of nature, the author and illustrator take us on a journey through the many facets of the living world, including its gentleness, its roughness, its beauty and its tenacity.

Finding Wild is Megan Wagner Lloyd’s first book. I look forward to reading more from her, as this debut, in this nature-loving girl’s opinion, is a solid introduction to a concept that’s important for all children to understand. Nature is everywhere. You just have to look.

FTC Required Disclosure: This blog features Amazon Associate links, including linked images. Purchases made through these affiliate links will result in a my receiving a small commission. This applies to all products purchased at Amazon through the link, regardless of whether or not I’ve mentioned the product on this blog.

Building a Joyful Life: A Beautiful Legacy

GrassRoots 2014
Wassa Pan Afrika Dance Ensemble at the 2014 Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival

Life is not all about books. I know this is hard for some of us to grapple with, but it’s true. At the very least, we need to eat, sleep and stay in touch with others. And then there’s all the stuff we’d rather not do – the stuff that feels like drudgery – but needs to be done.

There is a rhythm of life that involves the pleasant and the unpleasant, the necessary and the frivolous, the yin and yang. Life is both chaotic and beautifully ordered. We may not get to choose some of the things that happen to us, but we do get to choose the tone of our song. And, we can choose to give our energy and time to activities and thoughts that bring us happiness. I believe that this is, in part, how we build a joyful life.

My version of a joyful life is filled with books, obviously, but it is also filled with music. That’s why I’m taking a break from reading for the next four days to enjoy the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance with my sister and her family. There will be music and dancing at four different stages. It isn’t for everyone. Not everyone likes music or the type of music played here (Roots, Bluegrass, African, Zydeco, Reggae, Latin and more), and some think four days of this is torture, but that’s not me. I love music! The GrassRoots Festival has become my annual pilgrimage – my yearly reminder that there’s more to life than working to make a living. You’ve got to enjoy the living. As an added bonus, the GrassRoots Festival donates its profits to local education and health programs, including its own initiative called Roots in the Schools, so I know my vacation money is doing some good in the world.

All by itself the GrassRoots Festival is a great time, but one of the most fulfilling parts of my annual trek to Trumansburg is watching my young nephew revel in the music and dancing. He’s the kind of kid who can’t stop himself from dancing when he hears a great song. It’s enough to warm the coldest of hearts.

Without delving too deeply into the nature vs. nurture argument (I believe most things this is applied to are a mixture of both), I will say that I have a deep appreciation for how my sister and her husband expose their son to a wide array of culture. How do they do this? They take the time to enjoy their own lives. By appreciating the world around them, they immediately teach him how to do the same. I think that is one of the greatest gifts they give to their son. It’s a beautiful legacy.

How are you passing on your love of life to your children?

When you’re not reading, what do you enjoy doing?

Leave a comment below, and let me know how you’re building your joyful life.


Here are some of my favorite pics from past years of the GrassRoots Festival.

GrassRoots Festival 2013 Happiness Parade
GrassRoots Festival 2013 -Happiness Parade
GrassRoots Festival 2013 - Happiness Parade
GrassRoots Festival 2013 – Happiness Parade
Prayer Flags - GrassRoots Festival
GrassRoots Festival 2014 – Prayer Flags
Wassa Pan Afrika Dance Ensemble - GrassRoots 2014
Wassa Pan Afrika Dance Ensemble – GrassRoots 2014
GrassRoots Happiness Parade 1014
GrassRoots Festival 2014- Happiness Parade