Monday, April 15, 2013

Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty?

I found another nursery rhyme detective picture book in Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty?: And Other Notorious Nursery Tale Mysteries written by David Levinthal and John Nickle.

This is one of those wonderful stories both adults and children can appreciate together. The opening line "There are eight million stories in the forest. This is one of them." will draw in the adult readers familiar with the classic mystery movie genre. The nursery crimes will appeal to adult and child alike.

Binky the Frog works in Pinecone's robbery division. As the story begins, he is working on the case of a burglary involving the Bear family. After he works through the Goldilocks’ situation, he moves on Hansel and Gretel. After the first case, we are left wondering, will he side with the witch or the children. With the Hansel and Gretel's situation resolved he hears terrible news from Harry Wolf, Humpty, the lead drummer of All the King's Horses and all the King's Men band was discovered in pieces. As an old friend, Binky feels obliged to take a bus into the city to discover the fate of his friend.

After locating Humpty's killer, Binky takes on the Queen from Snow White and the fate of Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk.

This is the authors first trip into nursery rhyme crime and I hope it is not the last time we see Binky working his way through nursery rhyme and fairy tale crimes. This is a great way to open up discussions about fairy tales children have read. For older children it is a way to discuss crime and punishment as it relates to fairy tales and nursery rhymes. I used to use fairy tales and nursery rhymes as a great introduction to debates. Was Humpty pushed? Was Little Boy Blue overworked or lazy? Should Goldilocks have been arrested for breaking and entering or just forced to make restitution for her destruction?

This book works better after children have read the original tales. It is harder to understand the fun of the stories if you do not know the original tales.

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