Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty

by Daniel Kirk
Putnam, 2000
Humpty Dumpty

Book Description
Moe hollered, “Look, Mother, up on the wall! 
If that egg isn’t careful, he’s going to fall!”

Humpty Dumpty is an egg on a mission–to get the best seat in the house for King Moe’s birthday parade, no matter how high he has to climb. Timid King Moe also has a mission–to hide from the parade’s jugglers, clowns and onlookers, or at least find a seatbelt in his coach. King Moe is riding in his birthday parade when he looks up in time to see Humpty fall off the wall! The young king is very sad to see that Humpty is broken. But then Moe’s mother suggests that he put his talent for doing puzzles to good use. Will King Moe be able to alter the ending of this classic nursery rhyme and save the day? This is the story of Humpty Dumpty as it’s never been told before!

Reviews of Humpty Dumpty

Review from School Library Journal
Kirk’s bouncing rhymes never falter…the hyperrealistic quality of Kirk’s earlier books is apparent here, as is his offbeat sense of humor. A winsome variation on a favorite rhyme.

Daniel Kirk speaks about Humpty Dumpty
When my kids were little and I used to read them Mother Goose rhymes, I was often struck by the way that the rhymes seem to tell part of a story, but not the whole story.
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In Humpty Dumpty, they wanted to know why all the king’s horses and all the king’s men were trying to put a broken egg back together again. And what was that egg doing sitting on a wall?

I decided to write a story about Humpty Dumpty that explained all of the questions left unanswered in the original Mother Goose rhyme. I found ways of tying all the loose ends together, and I gave the story a happy ending. I also slipped in some lessons about the importance of friendship, and learning from other people’s strengths.

For the artwork, I decided to play with the technique called “collage.” I went through hundreds of magazines, cutting out clouds, bits of jewelry, tiny faces, and pictures of antique furniture and castles. Very carefully, I glued up to twenty-five pieces of magazine scrap onto each of my illustrations, and then proceeded to paint around the collage bits.

Things to think about and do after you have read Humpty Dumpty

1. Do you think that it was right for Humpty to climb on the wall, even when he knew that he wasn’t supposed to?
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2. How would you live your life differently if you were an egg?

3. King Moe and Humpty Dumpty are a pair of unlikely friends; that is, they are quite different from each other, and yet each admires the differences of the other. Do you have any friends like this? How are they the same, and how are they different?

4. Try making a collage of your own, by drawing a figure on a piece of paper. Then, using bits of photographs from magazines and newspapers, make the clothes for the drawing you have made. Try a background collage, and see how it looks different from something you might draw yourself.

5. Look at books in your library about the art of collage. Artists have many ways to express themselves with different art materials!

6. Look at other books in your library that are based on famous nursery rhymes. How many can you find?