After the Fall

After the Fall
Written and Illustrated by Dan Santat

Publisher’s Summary:
After falling off the wall, Humpty Dumpty is very afraid of climbing up again but is determined not to let fear stop him from being close to the birds.

Primary Source Pairing:
I had the opportunity to hear author and illustrator Dan Santat on a panel at the 2017 AASL conference in Phoenix. In a conversation about this book, he noted that Humpty Dumpty was an egg, and some eggs become birds. This was his inspiration for story After the Fall. In beautiful illustrations, Santat tells about the struggles Humpty Dumpty experienced after his great fall and how he overcame his fears. There are many extension activities for this story that will inspire creative thinking in multiple content areas.

For an experiential learning activity with a science connection, visit the N.W. Harris Loan Collection at the Field Museum and check out the Good Egg experience box where students can study actual eggs from snakes, birds, frogs, and other animals. Visit their website to learn more:

For a nonfiction pairing, use the book Egg: Nature’s Perfect Package written by Robin Page, illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Incredible paper collage illustrations paired with facts about animals about their eggs will pique the interest of learners of all ages.

Use this book as an opportunity to talk about overcoming fears and to add a social-emotional connection into storytime. Display the two page spread (pgs 25-26) where Humpty Dumpty has climbed the wall to retrieve his plane and where the text reads “until I was no longer afraid,” and challenge students to think of something of which they once were afraid and how they overcame that fear.

For the primary source pairing, invite students to study another version of the Humpty Dumpty story published in 1903 by W.W. Denslow. Make a print copy of the book or provide a digital copy available for students to read and analyze. Additionally, visit the International Digital Children’s Library for the story translated in Chinese (Traditional),  French,  Indonesian,  Italian,  Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • How much of the text can you read? What does it say?
  • What do you see that looks strange or unfamiliar?
  • How are the words arranged?
  • What do you notice about the page the writing appears on?
  • What do you see on the page besides writing?
  • What other details can you see?
  • How is the story similar to After the Fall? How is it different?
  • How have books changed since 1903? How are they the same?
  • What surprised you about the 1903 version of the Humpty Dumpty story? Why?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Humpty Dumpty story from 1903: Library of Congress
Full Book as PDF: Library of Congress

Additional Resources:
Egg: Nature’s Perfect Package on Amazon
Clearing the Hurdle! International Digital Children’s Library Exhibition created by Jamie Moore
International Digital Children’s Library: