Title: After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again
Author and Illustrator: Dan Santat
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Year of Publication: 2017
This one blew me away. I actually got chills the first time I read it, and was surprised it didn’t receive any Caldecott love. Dan Santat turns a classic nursery rhyme on its head by changing the ending: it turns out, all the kings horses and all the kings men could put Humpty together again. An epilogue like no other is the content of this lovely, inspirational story.
Due to his fall, aspiring ornithologist Humpty is now afraid of heights. His fear is not only preventing him from bird watching, but causing him to sleep on the floor and miss out on the tasty cereals located on the top shelves at the grocery store.
Realizing that his quality of life is not what he wants it to be, Humpty makes a plan to come as close as possible to his beloved birds without directly facing his fear: paper airplanes. He spends hours crafting the perfect plane, only to have it get stuck soon after its first flight. As fate would have it, his beautiful paper airplane/bird is lodged at an impossibly high location. In a stunningly dramatic final illustration, Humpty soars above his fear both literally and figuratively.
This gorgeous picture book is perfect for discussions about bravery and perseverance. What lies on the other side of fear? What is holding you back?