What Really Happened to Humpty?: (From the Files of a Hard-Boiled Detective)


A scrambled mess . . .

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Or--as his brother Detective Joe Dumpty thinks--was he pushed? This case isn't all it's cracked up to be. Suspects are plenty (as are the puns) in this scrambled story of nursery rhyme noir. Was it Little Miss Muffet? There's something not right about her tuffet. Or could it have been Chicken Little, who's always been a little cagey? Or was it the Big Bad Wolf, who's got a rap sheet as long...

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A scrambled mess . . .

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Or--as his brother Detective Joe Dumpty thinks--was he pushed? This case isn't all it's cracked up to be. Suspects are plenty (as are the puns) in this scrambled story of nursery rhyme noir. Was it Little Miss Muffet? There's something not right about her tuffet. Or could it have been Chicken Little, who's always been a little cagey? Or was it the Big Bad Wolf, who's got a rap sheet as long as a moonless night? Joe's on the beat and determined to find the truth.

Readers of all ages will delight in the word play and hilarious illustrations in this mystery of what really happened to Humpty Dumpty on that fateful day.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Clever wordplay marks Ransom's (What Do Your Parents Do? [When You're Not Home]) fast-paced, noir-styled offering. Detective Joe Dumpty unravels the real reason his brother, Humpty, took a spill, interviewing characters that hail from the pages of Mother Goose (she puts in an appearance, too). The puns, a little more subtle than in similar stories, are on target for the suggested audience, e.g., "I looked at my brother. He wasn't moving. Whoever did this was gonna fry!" Axelsen (the Piccolo and Annabelle series) provides plenty of humor with busy cartoon illustrations, many of them inset with boxed vignettes; Chicken Little and her offspring, for example, wear crash helmets and reside in a fortified bunker. The noir conventions add a layer of sophistication to the nursery-rhyme setting, ratcheting up the book's appeal for primary-grade readers. Ages 6-9. (Feb.)

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Children's Literature - Cathi I. White
Everyone knows the old Mother Goose poem of Humpty Dumpty. He sat on the wall and then had a great fall. He couldn't be put together again by the kings' horses or men, but how did Humpty REALLY fall from the wall? Was he pushed? Did he jump? Did something suspicious happen to him? This hilarious book puts an outrageous twist to this beloved old poem. Joe Dumpty, Humpty's brother, investigates the fall. He is trying to get to the bottom of the real story. Readers will encounter other adored nursery rhyme and story characters such as Little Miss Muffet and the spider, the Old Woman in the Shoe, the Muffin Man, Old Mother Hubbard, Goldilocks, Chicken Little, the Three Pigs, and even Mother Goose herself. The illustrations show the delightful humor and irony in this wonderful story. The readers will be surprised to find out what Joe Dumpty reveals. This amusing book is a masterpiece in humor, creativity, and imagination! Children and adults of all ages will enjoy reading it. Teachers would enjoy sharing this book with their students. Reviewer: Cathi I. White
School Library Journal

Gr 1-4

When Humpty falls off the wall, his brother Joe, a detective in Mother Gooseland, is convinced that he was pushed. Thus begins the unraveling of the mystery of who did the dastardly deed. All of the characters use cell phones and some drive cars in this long and complicated tale. There are a lot of egg jokes, and wordplay abounds. In the end, Little Miss Muffet and the Big Bad Wolf go off to jail for their crime. Now Joe Dumpty has more work to do as the Dish just ran away with the Spoon and Bo Peep's sheep are roaming. The illustrations are done in watercolor, with pen and ink. The drawings are various sizes and often there are multiple frames per page. Pictures are detailed, and many contain speech balloons. This is a text-heavy story that will tickle the funny bone of readers old enough to get the jokes.-Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI

Kirkus Reviews
Humpty Dumpty's hard-boiled brother tackles the mystery of his infamous fall. In a big gold trench coat and matching fedora, private eye Joe Dumpty makes a bold assertion-"Humpty Dumpty was pushed"-and sets out to crack the case, supported by police Chief (Mother) Goose. His droll investigation covers a rogue's gallery of nursery-rhyme characters. Miss Muffet proves a tough cookie; Joe finds a key piece of evidence under her tuffet. Other suspects include Goldilocks (who's house-sitting for the Three Bears and answers the door in pajamas and bedhead), a Zoot-suited Wolf, a skittish Chicken Little and the bickering Three Little Pigs. Ransom's execution of her delicious premise is scattershot, but with many more hits than misses, and her text is substantial, appropriate for her target school-age audience. Axelsen's watercolor-cum-pen-and-ink illustrations offer additional laughs and surprises. While done with a bit more polish and 'tude by Margie Palatini and Richard Egieski in 2001's The Web Files, this nursery-rhyme caper will please. (Picture book. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580893916
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2010
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 670,293
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanie Franz Ransom is the author of several books, including WHAT PARENTS DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT HOME and GRANDMA U. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good job, Jeanie!

    What really happened to Humpty? That's what Joe Dumpty (Humpty's older brother) is determined to find out.
    Everyone knows "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall." But Detective Joe Dumpty doesn't think so.
    "Humpty's been sitting on the Wall for years without a wobble. Then the first week he's Neighborhood Watch Captain, he suddenly falls down?"
    Now with a 5 o'clock deadline, Joe is searching Mother Gooseland looking for clues. But can Joe make the pieces fit before time is up?
    I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery, humor, and funny illustrations. Good job, Jeanie!

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