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WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO HUMPTY?

Author: Jeanie Franz Ransom

Illustrator: Stephen Axelsen

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Publisher: Charlesbridge,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Joe Dumpty, Humpty's younger brother, has a theory: his brother was pushed off that wall. Everyone is convinced it was an accident caused by a gust of wind. Joe Dumpty disagrees. Police Chief Goose (aka Mother Goose) has given him 24 hours to investigate. What is the verdict? This is a picture book story with an alternate history of Humpty Dumpty's demise.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, read aloud book, transitional reader, illustrated chapter

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 4 to 9

Reading Level: 3

Age of Child: Read with 7-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: "This is funny, Mom." Our daughter enjoyed the story and was happy to be re-acquainted with classic storybook characters like Little Miss Muffet and the Three Little Pigs. The frequent puns added to her fun, and she would stop to repeat the "joke."

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a very clever retelling of Humpty Dumpty's story. The characters are instantly recognizable, even though the events have changed and the tale has been modernized (e.g., Little Miss Muffet called 911 on her cell phone). It takes a couple of readings (which we were asked to do) to catch all of the humor. We enjoyed this as much as she did.

Pros: Lovable characters, silly word puns, and a mystery combine in this modern version of a best-loved children's rhyme.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a story that is fun to read as an adult (without the kids around).

If You Liked This Book, Try: HUMPTY DUMPTY JR.: Hardboiled Detective: The Case of the Fiendish Flapjack Flop   HUMPTY DUMPTY JR.: Hardboiled Detective: The Mystery of Merlin and the Gruesome Ghost   OVER THE MOON! BEST-LOVED NURSERY RHYMES

Educational Themes: This is a story to enjoy just for the fun of reading. The sophisticated humor and fast-paced events will engage reluctant and remedial readers.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 3.0

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, nursery rhymes, humor, series

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2009

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