HUMPTY DUMPTY by Etienne Delessert


Age Range: 5 - 9
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A downright weird fable revisits (sort of) the lessons of The Selfish Giant, with a 21st-century twist. King Humpty inhabits an idyllic, sun-filled paradise, separated from the peasants by a high fence that lets only a dim light shine over. One evening, as King Humpty reads on his lake, the sun reflects off the enormous diamonds carried by his captive swans, attracting the attention of the peasants. When they peek over the fence, King Humpty sees them and, “[e]nraged by this breach of his security, he dismisse[s] all his guards and servants.” On his own, he essays a higher stone wall, but “King Humpty’s selfish life had not prepared him for such a task, and he had a great fall.” Any possible lesson—is the elementary audience meant to see parallels with Israel’s security fence? The USA Patriot Act?—falls just as flat as Humpty himself, the lumpishly surreal illustrations as intellectually removed from anything like character and emotion as the text they accompany. Kids who know Humpty from the rhyme (which ends the tale) will find nothing to recognize in this. Splat. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 10th, 2006
ISBN: 0-618-56987-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2006


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