After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again)

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) Book Poster Image
Encouraging Humpty Dumpty story helps kids face fears.

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age 12+
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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows a glimpse of how paper airplanes are made -- and how they're fun to fly. 

Positive Messages

Accidents happen. You don't have to be known for one mistake forever. Fear can keep you from doing your favorite things. If you try something that's hard, keep trying and you can succeed. If you fall, you can get back up.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Humpty Dumpty conquers his fear and gets back up on the wall he fell off of. He doesn't want to be known only for falling. He pushes himself to be known as someone who could "get back up again."

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again), by Caldecott Medal-winning author-illustrator Dan Santat (The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend), is a charming story of the famous egg who's gripped by fear of falling off the wall again. Kids will root for him as he faces his fear and ends up soaring. It's a cute, accessible, wonderfully illustrated, and inspiring tale.

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Teen, 14 years old Written September 26, 2019

What's the story?

AFTER THE FALL (HOW HUMPTY DUMPTY GOT BACK UP AGAIN) imagines the familiar nursery rhyme character paralyzed by anxiety and afraid to climb the ladder to the top of the wall he famously fell off of. He lost  his courage and his spirit of adventure after he cracked up. His bummed-out mood improves when he successfully makes a paper airplane, but when it gets stuck on the top of the wall, he must face his fear or lose it forever. 

Is it any good?

This charming story of a once-fallen egg overcoming his fear of heights is encouraging for little ones. It's also a great metaphor for older kids and adults who may struggle with depression or anxiety. (The author has said this book was inspired by his wife's own bout with paralyzing anxiety.)

It's easy to connect with Humpty Dumpty, since he's drawn with loads of personality and clearly expresses his various emotions in ways kids can understand. They'll enjoy the exhilarating twist at the end, when we get to see him soar out of the dumps and into the sky. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how fear is shown in After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again). What have you felt afraid to do? Did you conquer your fear? What helped you face it? 

  • How can fear hold you back from doing what you want to do?

  • Is it easy to see the changes in Humpty's emotions? When is he frustrated? Sad? Mad? Happy? How does the artist show those emotions?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love emotional stories

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