Dimity Dumpty: The Story of Humpty's Little Sister


The world needs more quiet heroes! With whimsy and warmth, Bob Graham tells the lesser-known tale of a shy little soul who saves the day.

What happened to Humpty Dumpty is the stuff of legend. But how many know of his brave little sister? While the Tumbling Dumpties, the family traveling circus troupe, is doing acts of spectacular daring, Dimity stays far from the spotlight, playing tunes on her tiny flute. But when Humpty falls off the wall where he's writing graffiti, it's ...

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The world needs more quiet heroes! With whimsy and warmth, Bob Graham tells the lesser-known tale of a shy little soul who saves the day.

What happened to Humpty Dumpty is the stuff of legend. But how many know of his brave little sister? While the Tumbling Dumpties, the family traveling circus troupe, is doing acts of spectacular daring, Dimity stays far from the spotlight, playing tunes on her tiny flute. But when Humpty falls off the wall where he's writing graffiti, it's Dimity who finds her voice and brings help that even the king's soldiers can't provide. With a wealth of humorous visual details — the egg-carton caravan drawn by a chicken, the bandaging of Humpty's "leakage" after his fall — Bob Graham pays tribute to a famous nursery rhyme figure and brings smiles to his readers once again.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Young readers may thinkthey know all there is to know about Mother Goose's clumsy egg character, but Graham (Oscar's Half Birthday) sets them straight in his hilarious picture-book profile of the whole Dumpty family. As members of a traveling circus, Dorothy and Dominic Dumpty and their children, Humpty and Dimity, have built a happy life riding from town to town in their cozy egg-carton camper. As the Tumbling Dumpties, mother, father and son adore the spotlight under the Big Top each night. But little sister Dimity much prefers playing her flute and seeking out solitude whenever she can. It's not until Humpty ("something of a rascal") takes a fall while spray-painting graffiti on a wall that timid Dimity boldly steps up to save her brother. Part fractured nursery rhyme and all sweet-natured fun, Graham's story envisions a completely believable egg's-eye-view of the world. The trappings of the Dumpties and their fellow circus folk (all humans), rendered in cheery watercolor-and-ink are often laugh-out-loud funny in their detail. The trapeze-act scenes alone are worth the price of admission. Ages 3-up. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Humpty Dumpty's simple story is well-known, but now we can learn about his little sister's "quiet heroism." It seems that the Dumpty family, as "the Tumbling Dumpties" part of a traveling circus, has a rascal, devilish son called Humpty, and a quiet, timid daughter named Dimity, who chooses not to join in the spectacular show. Instead, away from the crowds, she happily plays her precious flute. One day, Humpty decides to spray paint his name on a factory wall, and, of course, he falls. Soldiers on horseback pass, but "it's only an egg," they decide, and ride on. Finding him, brave Dimity faces the circus spotlight to request help. Humpty recovers in the hospital. Although she never again enters the ring, Dimity and her music are appreciated by all. There's a quaint gentleness to Graham's ink and watercolor depictions of the visual adventure. From the first sight of the Dumpties' egg-carton wagon and the parade of circus vehicles across the title page, we see the circus life and the big tent depicted with considerable detail. But the focus is on our convincing, if diminutive, heroine. Good humor more than high adventure dominates the sequence of varying size settings and characters.
Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
When Humpty's little sister was born, she cried a small note in perfect tune with a nearby blackbird. Dimity's musical talent went unrecognized, however, because she was small and timid. The Dumpty family was part of a traveling circus. They lived in an egg carton on wheels pulled by a big white hen. They all helped with setting up the Big Top, and then the other three family members put on their costumes and makeup to perform as The Tumbling Dumpties, a daring trapeze act. Dimity chose not to join them. One day, her father found an old ballpoint pen beside the road. He took the tube out and made a silver flute. Dimity loved her gift. While the circus was in session, she found quiet places to be alone. She played tunes as soft as a snail on a cabbage leaf, as still as grass growing, and as gentle as a beetle's breath. Unlike Dimity, Humpty was something of a rascal. One cloudy day he climbed up a wall and began spray painting his name on its surface. Then he slipped. Dimity heard her brother hit the ground and quickly ran to the rescue. She bandaged Humpty's leakage and set his broken leg. None of the passing people would help her move Humpty, so Dimity ran back to the circus and screamed out his plight. The soldiers who had passed him by visited him in the hospital and agreed to his only wish—to ride one of their horses. Thus Humpty became star of his own act—performing on horseback. The other circus performers discovered Dimity's talent and listened quietly to her music before taking the tents down. Large pastel pictures add to the charm of the book and provide details beyond those found in the text. An imaginative extension of a familiar nursery rhyme.
School Library Journal

PreS - Gr 2 - "Everyone knows the story of Humpty Dumpty. Not so many know the story of his little sister, Dimity." So begins the tale of his quiet, diminutive, and painfully shy sibling who prefers the background to the limelight of her circus family's acrobatics. The perfect foil to her reckless brother's antics, Dimity finds solace and meaning in her flute music. But when Humpty takes his proverbial fall while spray painting graffiti, it is Dimity who comes to his rescue. She runs to the big top and, finding her voice, mobilizes everyone to save her brother. After the rescue, she remains her timid self, but those around her come to appreciate her quiet center. The full-color watercolor illustrations are a delight-from the egg carton "mobile home" pulled by a hen to the emotional expressions Graham can pull out of an eggshell. The language is lyrical ("the spotlight pushed like a bright finger across the tent," "gentle as a beetle's breath," "high notes fly like swifts on a summer's morning") and makes a perfect read-aloud. This story of a quiet child who shuns attention and remains true to herself will resonate with children and their parents, who know that everyone has special gifts and talents.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha Public Library, WI

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Graham throws new light onto a familiar nursery rhyme, casting Humpty as the reckless scion of a family of circus acrobats, and giving him a very shy little sister who bravely comes through in the clutch. The writing and the art are equally exquisite. While the rest of her family is wowing crowds under the Big Top, Dimity takes her flute (made from a ball-point pen core) outdoors, to play "as soft as a snail on a cabbage leaf, / quiet as the grass growing on the hill." Dimity's retreat from the spotlight comes to a brief end, however, when her feckless sibling falls from a wall while spraying it with graffiti. Having competently splinted his broken leg and patched his leaky shell with her shirt, she dashes into the ring to plead for help from the crowd. The illustrations combine delicacy of line and color with lots of richly comic details, depicting the diminutive Dumptys and their comfortably appointed egg-carton trailer amid a full-sized circus, and giving Humpty a suitably raffish look. The tale's entire cast pauses at the end to admire Dimity's quiet courage, and listen as she plays, to quote the Ringmaster, "the music of the heavens." You can almost hear it. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763630782
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 1/9/2007
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.97 (w) x 10.95 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob Graham
Bob Graham is the author-illustrator of many acclaimed books for children, including "LET'S GET A PUP!" SAID KATE, winner of a BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK Award, and OSCAR'S HALF BIRTHDAY, an American Library Association Notable Children's Book. He lives in Australia.
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  • Posted November 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A charming story!

    Found this book at the library and read it to my six and three and a half year old granddaughters. Both of them loved it so much that I bought it for their home library. It's a delightful addition to an old nursery rhyme.

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