After the Fall
From the New York Times–bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend comes the inspiring epilogue to the beloved classic nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty.Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after?Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat's poignant tale follows Humpty Dumpty, an avid bird watcher whose favorite place to be is high up on the city wall―that is, until after his famous fall. Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most.Will he summon the courage to face his fear?After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) is a masterful picture book that will remind readers of all ages that Life begins when you get back up.

After the Fall Details

TitleAfter the Fall
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherRoaring Brook Press
ISBN-139781626726826
Rating
GenreChildrens, Picture Books

After the Fall Review

  • Betsy
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes its easy to forget in the midst of all those picture books about farting dogs, night kitchens, and giant dance parties that initially literature for children had a primary purpose: To instruct. Specifically, to instill in young people a clear-cut sense of right and wrong. Learning to read was all well and good, but what’s the point if you can’t impart some wisdom of the elders along the way? And before you start feeling so superior in your 21st century fancypants, I would remind you th Sometimes its easy to forget in the midst of all those picture books about farting dogs, night kitchens, and giant dance parties that initially literature for children had a primary purpose: To instruct. Specifically, to instill in young people a clear-cut sense of right and wrong. Learning to read was all well and good, but what’s the point if you can’t impart some wisdom of the elders along the way? And before you start feeling so superior in your 21st century fancypants, I would remind you that picture books do it to varying degrees of success to this very day. I’ll put it another way. When a celebrity wants to write a picture book what do they do every single time? That’s right, they moralize. They moralize the crap out of their books until the parent forced to read that dreck feels as though someone has clubbed them over the head with a 40-pound hammer. Even the best picture book authors and illustrators have their off books too. They might be brilliant but occasionally the point of the book feels downright clunky. Now I love me my Dan Santat, but the man is human. Some of his books I’ve felt were the bee’s knees and others struck me as in need of more work. After the Fall could have gone either way with me, particularly as it has a very key message at its core. That’s the thing about morals, though. When the right author/illustrator finds the right story at the right time, the final products don’t just fly. They soar.Nobody enjoys falling off a wall. Entirely aside from the physical trauma, there are deep psychological scars that take much longer to heal. Humpty Dumpty is a plainspoken fellow. As it puts it, falling off the wall was an accident, “But it changed my life.” No longer able to deal with heights, the things he used to enjoy (like bird watching) are difficult in the face of his fears. One day, a paper airplane gives him an idea on how to get a new lease on life. But, as Humpty puts it, “accidents happen.” And sometimes the worst accident can lead to the spit, fire, and raw determination you need to get back in the game.And now a bit of a confession. This entire review is predicated on a lie. Well . . . not the whole review. But if you know my reviews then you know that a lot of the time I begin them with protestations. “I don’t like dog books but . . .”, “I have a low cute threshold, but . . .”, and (most egregiously), “I don’t much care for didactic picture books, but . . .” Under normal circumstances that last caveat would have been practically the first sentence in this review. Either that or I would have begun by explaining how I came to discover this book in the first place. That I didn’t go either of those routes can mean only one thing – I have inside information about this book. So, to lay it on the line, I saw Dan Santat present this book at a library conference this past summer. Now lest you think I get overly gaga in the presence of authors and artists, a lot of my library conferences consist of listening to creative folks speak at lunches, dinners, panels, interviews, etc. Dan’s no different, but when he told the story about the story behind this book I suddenly found myself seeing it in an entirely new light. You see, someone very close to Dan has suffered from anxiety for a very long time. This book is dedicated to that person because of the struggle Dan has seen firsthand. Look at the book that way and things begin to click in place.Many's the time I’ve seen adults tackle adult themes in a picture book format and bog down as a result. When it works, it works brilliantly. Other times it feels like grown-up issues dumbed down or watered down so that they’ll be “kid-friendly”. These books have very little to say to actual children and a lot to their fellow adults. Just because Dan wrote a book with adult anxiety in mind, that wouldn’t necessarily mean that kids would care two bits about it. Fortunately, anxiety is a condition that translates well to a younger literary form. Kids are anxious creatures. Recently my daughter was simultaneously anxious that she’d burn her corneas out looking at the sun during an eclipse and worried that she’d miss it entirely. The fact that Santat chose the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme as a starting point is inspired. Pages like the one where Humpty says that after his accident, “There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue” can be understood by children and adults alike, without sacrificing any of that essential child-friendliness that will keep the book accessible. On top of that, Dan works in that age-old dictum to face and overcome your fears without bludgeoning you with it. And though as a parent I should have seen the end coming, it turned out to be a delightful surprise for everyone in my family.The writing. Let’s talk about the writing. I’ve written a picture book or two before because of that experience I can now tell that the best ones out there keep the ideas short, succinct, and to the point (clearly not my own personal strength). You can fill your pages with extra literary doodads and folderols but just know that at the end of the day a true picture book doesn’t need excess. Reading this book I could almost imagine Mr. Santat with a paring knife in one hand, ready to cut out any fat or needless jibber jabbering that snuck into his manuscript. This isn’t to say that there aren’t pages that contain up to seven sentences, but they lay the groundwork. For the most part Santat limits himself to the right words at the right time. If you think there’s a lot of white space in this book you aren’t wrong. Just don’t go thinking that the author sacrificed anything essential when he made these cuts. With brevity he slices right to the heart of what he’s trying to convey to kids and they get it, man. They get it.Santat won a Caldecott for the picture book Beekle not too long ago. A perfectly fine book with an art style similar to that found in After the Fall. Personally I liked Beekle but was never quite as enthralled with it as some folks. I happen to consider this latest book Santat’s best work visually. When critiquing a picture book for its art, you go about it two ways: First you consider the images in the book individually and then you consider how well they work together as a whole. I can’t do that with you here. Not thoroughly. Instead, let’s just take a single example of a moment in the book. In this story Humpty has at last constructed the perfect bird-shaped paper airplane as a kind of avatar, going where he cannot. Now consider the three page turns that go from a two-page close-up on Humpty’s horrified visage as he watches his beloved paper bird soar to the precise location he’s been trying to avoid. A turn of the page and we get this rather remarkable shot of Humpty’s head sticking out in the middle of the left-hand page while the wall, ladder, and bird are equally sideways, born out of the right-hand side of the right page. Another page turn and the angle has shifted yet again. We’re at the top of the ladder on the wall looking down at a thoroughly pissed off Humpty. Look at where the white pace moves in these three sequences. Upper half of the page – left-hand side – lower half (where the wall is). This is just one example but as I read the book through a couple times I noticed these very thoughtful choices on the part of the artist. Things like the fact that it isn’t until Humpty makes his airplane that we get close to him. Before that moment we see him pretty much at a distance. And there are other artistic choices hidden, like the fact that when Humpty experiences his final transforation we never see his face, or the casual inclusion of street and business signs in the town that are in languages other than English. But you sort of have to take the book as a whole.If someone asked me to do an elevator pitch for this book in one sentence I guess I’d be forced to say something about how it encourages readers to get up again after they fail or get hurt or have some sort of challenge in their life that they need to overcome. That sort of makes the book sound overly simplified, though. I think what Santat’s managed here is something very deft and fleet of foot. This could be an inspirational picture book that people hand to graduates or adults that have suffered some kind of a trauma, no question. But its primary purpose is to speak to children, even if those kids can’t entirely understand what it is that it’s trying to say. There’s no getting around its message. The question you have to ask yourself then is, would you want to?For ages 4 and up.
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  • Donalyn
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful and brilliant.
  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    I don't know if it's because the world is a messy pile of garbage right now, but this hit me just the right way and gave me a case of tears.
  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    What a funny, thoughtful book about fear and anxiety as well as resilience. Santat always knocks it out of the park when it comes to the art (you'll love the color choices on the pages where Humpty is shopping for cereal), and his tales are sensitive without losing their sense of humor.
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  • Christopher
    January 1, 1970
    I can honestly say I loved everything about this book. The artwork, the story, that cereal box aisle - I just loved it all!
  • Deborah
    January 1, 1970
    Dan Santat has completely outdone himself with this book. Can't say much without spoiling, but... WOW.
  • Jillian Heise
    January 1, 1970
    Unexpected, and oh so good! From the illustrations with humor and heart, to the story that will have everyone cheering for Humpty, this story is sure to be a win with kids.
  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    Everyone one knows about the story of Humpty Dumpty and how he sat on a wall and then had a great fall. He is well known due to a popular nursery rhyme. Santat added more to the story by incorporating what Humpty Dumpty learned from the fall.The King's men were able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again but there were wounds that didn't heal. These invisible wounds such as being afraid of heights took awhile for Humpty Dumpty to overcome. It became so apparent that he couldn't even enjoy some Everyone one knows about the story of Humpty Dumpty and how he sat on a wall and then had a great fall. He is well known due to a popular nursery rhyme. Santat added more to the story by incorporating what Humpty Dumpty learned from the fall.The King's men were able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again but there were wounds that didn't heal. These invisible wounds such as being afraid of heights took awhile for Humpty Dumpty to overcome. It became so apparent that he couldn't even enjoy some of his favorite things anymore. Humpty Dumpty tries alternatives to still enjoy his favorite things but eventually he had to overcome his fear in order to persevere. Santat teaches little ones and pretty much anyone who reads the After The Fall that everyone can overcome their fears. If a fear is interfering with you enjoying a favorite thing, one must overcome that fear. Also, Santat discusses about accidents and how accidents happen. One must learn how to adjust if an accident occurs. Sometimes you will need to overcome a fear as an result of an accident aftermath. It's okay to be nervous and terrified. It's okay to be worried and thinking you might not make it. Just keep moving one step at a time toward to goal. Taking baby steps will help achieve a goal with less fear. Santat's illustrations are remarkably wonderful! The timeless muted color palette reminds me of Mike Curato's Little Elliot, Big City. The ending was unexpected but it works beautifully with the motto of the book. The dust jacket has the title of the book in a raised semi-spot glossed type while the rest of the cover is matte. Humty Dumpty sitting on a while is also semi-spot glossed. Removing the dust jacket reveals a wonderful illustration of Humpty Dumpty falling with from the sky. Birds and a pair of binoculars are seen in the sky.After the Fall is a wonderful inspirational book for all ages. It's the type of book that will help readers feel at ease when they make mistakes. This is a classic story about overcoming fears when you are afraid. It's okay to fall but as long as you get back up, everything is okay.
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  • Kate Olson
    January 1, 1970
    This follow-up to the classic nursery rhyme is a perfect picture book to use when teaching about Growth Mindset and perseverance. The pictures are perfectly representative of the changing mood of the story, and the text is simple enough for the youngest students while the message is deep enough for middle grade. This is a required purchase for elementary school libraries. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this title.
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  • Susan Dunn
    January 1, 1970
    What happened to Humpty Dumpty after he fell off the wall? You'd be surprised!
  • Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! What an emotionally inspiring and beautiful book. Dan outdid himself.
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    This is just as wonderful as other reviewers have described. I can't wait to share it with students!
  • Dylan Teut
    January 1, 1970
    The ending blew my mind!!! GENIUS!!
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    I freaking loved this. Fantastic artwork and a great story. And that ending!
  • paula
    January 1, 1970
    You know a picture book is exceptional when you finish it shaking your head and muttering a bunch of admiring expletives, then flip to the front and read it again. Holy moly.
  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to @kidlitexchange network for the chance to review a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own!Take some amazing, quirky illustrations. Add them to a continuation of a familiar nursery rhyme with a perfect twist. Throw in a little grit and perseverance, and you'll have After the Fall. This book picks up where Humpty Dumpty left off, and finds him now intact but nervous to get back on the wall to enjoy his favorite hobby, birdwatching. As the story goes on, he works to overcome Many thanks to @kidlitexchange network for the chance to review a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own!Take some amazing, quirky illustrations. Add them to a continuation of a familiar nursery rhyme with a perfect twist. Throw in a little grit and perseverance, and you'll have After the Fall. This book picks up where Humpty Dumpty left off, and finds him now intact but nervous to get back on the wall to enjoy his favorite hobby, birdwatching. As the story goes on, he works to overcome a fear of heights that has taken over his life. And the ending, well, it makes this more than just a "get back on the horse" kind of tale. My 2nd grade students actually gasped with surprise when I turned the last page. The illustrations are top notch. They are so detailed and we probably spent five minutes discussing just the cereal aisle page alone!Overall After the Fall is a great picture book to be included in elementary classrooms. While great for younger audiences as a read aloud, the tone will also appeal to upper elementary kids. I used it with my class for Morning Meeting to discuss the concept of perseverance. And my students have already told our librarian to keep an eye out for it!
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  • Margie
    January 1, 1970
    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;All the king's horses and all the king's menCouldn't put Humpty together again.This particular nursery rhyme is brimming with mystery. Speculation abounds as to who or what Humpty Dumpty was. No one can say with certainty why Humpty Dumpty was on a wall. Some believe they know which king's horses and king's men were present. Many believe they understand why Humpty Dumpty was doomed to remain broken. It's hard to fix an egg when it falls Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;All the king's horses and all the king's menCouldn't put Humpty together again.This particular nursery rhyme is brimming with mystery. Speculation abounds as to who or what Humpty Dumpty was. No one can say with certainty why Humpty Dumpty was on a wall. Some believe they know which king's horses and king's men were present. Many believe they understand why Humpty Dumpty was doomed to remain broken. It's hard to fix an egg when it falls off a wall.In the mind of a clever author and creative illustrator all those mysteries are resolved. Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat (The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend) has written and illustrated the extraordinary After The Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) (Roaring Brook Press, October 3, 2017). You will never forget where you were and how you felt the first time you read this book. I will always remember.My full recommendation: http://librariansquest.blogspot.com/2...
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  • Gwendolyn Mann
    January 1, 1970
    I picked up one of the free ARCs at San Diego Comic Con and saw Dan speak at a panel about the book. Realizing that this book is a love letter to his wife and how she dealt with her lifetime struggle with anxiety made me love this book even more. The ending was indcredible. It was totally unexpected while at the same time totally obvious. Dare I say, I may even love it more than Beekle?
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Really is so very lovely.And as someone who fights a fair amount of anxiety and self-doubt (why? I know better!) the story behind this story is even more lovely.No one to write me a picture book but oh well. I’ll just share this one with kids and remind them to never give up on dreams and keep fighting my own fight.
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  • Aggie
    January 1, 1970
    This was a beautiful book about the saying, "if at first you don't succeed, Try , try again." It is a really inspiring kid's book about getting back there after you became scared and facing your fears. I liked getting to know what happened to Humpty Dumpty. I always wondering what became of him, i never expected this. This book is coming out in October and I highly recommend it.
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  • Lorie Barber
    January 1, 1970
    Whatever happened to Humpty Dumpty after he fell off that wall? This picture book tells the story of how to get back up when you've had a setback. Everyone can relate to Humpty, but it's the resilience and persistence he has that can be truly life changing for readers. WOW WOW WOW!!!!! Perfect message coupled with exquisite illustrations. I can't wait to share this awesomeness with my students.
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  • Stacy Mozer
    January 1, 1970
    After the Fall is the story of Humpty Dumpty's journey to get back up after the big disaster. I adore Dan Santat's writing and illustrations. My students are going to love this one. Can't wait to share it with them today!
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Though the story may not be new (perseverance in spite of fear) Dan Santat's unique lively style makes this children's picture book a gem.
  • Leslie
    January 1, 1970
    Such a cute idea! Great lesson about getting back up again.
  • Aaron
    January 1, 1970
    Great picture book filled with courage, perseverance and growth. Lives up to the hype.
  • Julie Kirchner
    January 1, 1970
    Another incredible book by Dan Santat! Beautiful illustrations and I loved the ending. Can't wait to add it to my school library! I've already shared it at a summer reading event and it was a huge hit!
  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    "Maybe now you won't think of me as that egg who was famous for falling. Hopefully, you'll remember me as the egg who got back up." Humpty Dumpty loved sitting on his wall watching the birds. After he fell, he was afraid to get back up on his wall. Fear and anxiety plagued him. But eventually, he found the courage to get back up. Rife with rich metaphor and symbolism, After the Fall is a kidlit celebration of a phoenix rising from the ashes.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Great book to use with students about overcoming fears
  • Niki (Daydream Reader)
    January 1, 1970
    A read aloud must for the Fall!
  • Michele Knott
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant.
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