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Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Review: After The Fall, How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again

Caldecott medal winner Dan Santat has written and illustrated a powerful story of falling down and getting back up again with After the Fall.

The story takes place after birdwatching enthusiast Humpty, falls from a high wall and soon after he has been put back together again by the king’s men. 

Set in a contemporary city, the illustrations show Humpty walking out of the Kings County Hospital covered in plasters.

And though Humpty is back in one piece, the trauma of the fall has made him fear heights, so much so, he’d rather sleep on the floor than the top of his bunk bed.

But Humpty is not ready to give up on his love of birds and builds a paper one. His paper creation works so well that it flies up to a great height and lands on the other side of the dreaded wall.

Humpty decides to face his fears and climb the wall, even though he is terrified. The ending is absolutely gorgeous and clever.

The illustrations beautifully complement the sparse text and are at times emotive and other times funny. I liked the page where Humpty walks glumly past the cereal aisle where bright, enticing cereals named ‘Bowl-o-Cookes’ and ‘Just Marshmallow’ are high up out of reach and the bland sad-looking cereals such as ‘Grown-up food’ and ‘Leaves’ are stacked at the bottom shelf. Children will have fun reading the names on all the cereal boxes.

Inspired by his wife’s struggles with depression and her road to recovery, the author captures the feeling of anxiety and tells a story of hope.

 Title: After the Fall, How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again
Author: Dan Santat
Illustrator: Dan Santat
Publisher: Lothian Children’s Books, $16.99
Publication Date: 26 June 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780734418319
For ages: 4+ 
Type: Picture Book

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