Hello, friends! Today’s book is After The Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat, an unexpectedly moving postscript to the famous nursery rhyme.
You’ve heard the story, now hear his side: Humpty Dumpty did indeed love sitting on top of the wall once. It gave him a lovely view of the city, and brought him closer to the birds, whom he loved to study and observe. But since the fall, well, he’s scared of heights. Even the top bunk of his bunkbed is too far for him, and he sleeps on the ground instead. He misses the birds and the things he once loved, but he just can’t shake his fear. Determined to go on with life, he finds other ways to feel close to the birds: he builds a model plane in the shape of one, and it’s as good as when he was up high… well, almost. But when his painstakingly crafted model gets stuck on top of the very wall he once fell from, what will he do? Can Humpty find the courage to make the climb once more?
I was not expecting this story to be as powerful as it was! Using the famous story of Humpty Dumpty, Santat explores a bold theme for a picture book, the aftermath of trauma. Humpty is scarred from his experience, physically and mentally, and it’s treated with surprisingly delicacy; the audience is made sympathetic to his phobia and how it prevents him from enjoying life as he once did. It makes the climactic climb to retrieve his model all the more dramatic, leading to an astonishingly stirring ending that is surprising, gratifying and inspirational. Santat’s signature seamless blend of reality and fantasy in his art leaps off the page as usual, the length is perfect, and JJ and I both loved it. This is an amazing book, and it will move you. Baby Bookworm approved!