Once in a while I’ll read a picture book that, through picture and text, takes my breath away. This is one of those books.

Title: After the Fall
Author and Illustrator: Dan Santat
Rating: 10
Source: Raincoast Books for review

Description from Goodreads:

Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after?

Follow 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?

What I Thought:

In this version of the classic nursery rhyme, thankfully the King’s horses and men (in hospital/doctor forms) ARE able to put Humpty Dumpty together again. But he is a changed egg.

He is terrified of heights, which wouldn’t be so bad if his favourite activity wasn’t bird watching from a high perch on an incredibly tall wall.

Having my own little anxious child, I try to help her face her fears.

For example:up until basically last year, every spring I would have to remind her that she loved playing on certain a playground before winter came. She would always forget! (I mean, I know Canadian winters are long, but they’re not THAT long.) She was afraid she would fall. So every spring I would have to hold her little hands as she crossed bridges again, jumped from one section to another, and realised that she could do it by herself, after all. Building confidence takes time. It’s done step by step.

Being brave is kind of a scary thing when you’re a kid. And especially if something bad has happened to you.

And that’s why I love this book. (Also it’s gorgeous. And the pacing and the use of space are low-key amazing.)

Humpty Dumpty refuses to let his fears take control of him.

“Unfortunately, accidents happen. They always do.”

Humpty Dumpty shows us that being brave doesn’t mean not being scared.

Being brave means facing your fears, even when you feel like you can’t do it for one more minute.

And in the end, he stretches his wings, and flies.

What Evelyn Thought:

That was funny that he didn’t want to go back up because he didn’t know he was going to turn into a bird! Eventually he wanted to climb that wall again! I liked when his face was like, “Ahhh…” when he saw that his plane was going to be stuck forever. It taught me that accidents always happen. Always. Forever. So I should just live my life brave.

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