Staff Picks for Children
In partnership with
Recommended by Melinda at West Kendall Regional
After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again
Written and illustrated by Dan Santat
We all know Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, but what if all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could have put him back together again? Would he have climbed that high wall another day? And what would he have seen if he did?
A genuinely moving tale about embracing and overcoming fear to regain your full self, Dan Santat’s twist on a beloved nursery rhyme classic is an emotionally charged treat, with equally poignant illustrations that seamlessly carry it forward. The pictures are detailed and affecting, capturing the fear in Humpty Dumpty’s eyes as he gazes at the wall, his longing when looking at his birds flying free and his trembling hands as he bravely wrestles with his emotions. Santat also deftly plays with light and shadow as Humpty Dumpty works toward his goal and conquers his fears, progressively illuminating the pages as a new day dawns for this unexpected hero.Check Availability
Ninja Red Riding Hood
By Corey Rosen Schwartz, illustrations by Dan Santat
After his epic failure in capturing the three little pigs, Wolf decides extensive training is in order and attends Ninja School. After mastering his classes he’s ready to go back on the hunt. He soon meets Red Riding Hood in the forest and thinks she’ll make a delicious meal. She’s on her way to Grandma’s house, but Wolf distracts her with a field of flowers so he can make it there ahead of her. Once at Grandma’s house Wolf borrows a robe, hops into bed and waits for Red to arrive. But Red’s no ordinary girl—she’s been to Ninja School too! What follows is an epic fight between the two foes, ninja style.
The battle scenes of this reimagined fairy tale flow with energy and motion, thanks to Dan Santat’s brightly colored illustrations. There are dark line breaks throughout, lending an almost comic‑style feel to the artwork. Emotions also shine strongly through, from the confidence emanating from Wolf’s hooded eyes to the chaotic fight and final tranquil scene.Check Availability
The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas
By Tony Wilson, illustrations by Sue deGennaro
Prince Henrik wants to find a princess, one who likes hockey and pitching tents and being outdoors. So, instead of piling up 20 mattresses and 20 quilts over a single, tiny pea, he comes up with a more meaningful test: one camping mattress, one sleeping bag and a packet of frozen peas. When princess after princess complains about the accommodations, a glum Henrik is happy to welcome his old friend Pippa for a visit, and they have a great time doing all the things they both like to do. But can she pass the “Princess Test”?
Sue deGennaro pencil‑and‑paint illustrations bring a warm, homey vibe to the pages, as well as an abundance of personality to down‑to‑earth Pippa and her maybe prince.Check Availability
By Ellen Jackson, illustrations by Kevin O’Malley
Once upon a time there were two little girls who lived next door to each other, Cinder Ella and Cinder Edna. Ella did all the chores for her evil stepmother and stepsisters, and slept in the cinders and did nothing else. Edna also did all of the chores for her wicked stepmother and stepsisters, but she found sleeping in cinders dirty and cleaned bird cages to make pocket money. When the royal ball came along both Ella and Edna were left out. So Ella got her fairy godmother to do everything she could to get her there, while Edna did the work herself to make it to the party. At the ball, Ella met Prince Randolph, who was enchanted by her beauty, while Edna met Prince Rupert, who was delighted by her jokes and commitment to recycling. When the girls both disappeared at midnight, Prince Randolph only had a glass slipper to go on, but Prince Rupert had a name. Of course they both find their true loves, but who will end up happier?
Kevin O’Malley’s illustrations, marked by soft yet distinct lines and gentle shading, bring this female empowerment fairy tale to life. The art wonderfully conveys the heroines’ emotions, from Ella’s fright when faced by magical mice to practical Edna’s anticipation as she rides the bus to the ball. They also show the great joy found by the latter when she meets her match.Check Availability
By Jonathan Emmett, illustrations by Poly Bernatene
Princess Martha’s sisters are reading fairy tales by the pond, dreaming of catching a prince. Martha, however, is hoping to find a frog. And a nearby amphibian is wishing he could live the life of a prince. Suddenly, the frog has an idea. He tells Martha’s sisters that he is really an enchanted prince, and that their kind treatment of him alone can turn him back. The sisters bend over backward treating the wily trickster like royalty, while Martha keeps trying to prove that he is just a frog. Only after poring over a bunch of books will they figure out a way to the truth: Is this a frog prince or just a plain old frog?
Poly Bernatene’s digital illustrations are bright and animated. The background gets fuzzy in a few places, but that only serves to draw attention to the stunning detail of the faces and actions of the characters.Check Availability