In this retold nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty is a hapless, egg-shaped crab.
The orange-red protagonist sits on a wall that looks to be the sunken ruin of a sand castle and then suffers the inevitable fall. The king’s horses and king’s men are sea horse stretcher bearers and an operating trio of a shrimp, a shark, and a dolphin, respectively. True to the rhyme, they are unsuccessful in healing Humpty Dumpty, so the crab, who likely needs better health insurance, is sent on his way still cracked and bandaged. Animals similarly star in companion titles. A bear plays the role of “baker’s man” in Pat-a-Cake, marking a cake “for baby and me” with a large blue B and inexplicably frosting it before baking it. The stars of Jack and Jill are two goats, one white and one black, respectively, who climb a peak only for Jack to fall and break a horn, which is somehow miraculously fixed on the final page. In Mary Had a Little Lamb, Mary is a purple lamb who has a beloved stuffed lamb toy with whitish-gray fleece. This is the only classic text that is condensed; the repetition of the song is absent, which makes singing in time to the page turns difficult. In the other titles, the lines of rhyme flow quite nicely; particularly effective is the page-turn pause before Jill comes “tumbling after.” Quintanilla’s imagery has an endearing cuteness, featuring animals with voluminous eyes on oversize heads.
With its companions, a baby-friendly classic. (Board book. 1-3)