After the Fall (Roaring Brook, $17.99) immortalized in an English nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty is put together again in Dan Santat’s new tale—physically, at least. But there are “some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.” With a new fear of heights, poor Humpty can’t do some of his favorite things. When he does finally decide to climb his famous wall once again, he—nervously, slowly—rediscovers joy. Santat’s illustrations, which weave cartoonish humor with sober realism, communicate the egg’s emotions on the long, bumpy road to recovery. The book’s touching surprise ending is much more hopeful than the original nursery rhyme’s grim conclusion. Ages 4-7.
Nine-year-old Amy Anne Ollinger has always been afraid to stand up for herself. When her favorite book is removed from the school library, however, she is determined to fight the decision to Ban This Book (Tor, $15.99). As a concerned parent pulls a growing list of books off the shelves—making them more popular than ever— Amy Anne and her friends start a secret Banned Books Locker Library, or B.B.L.L. With humor and heart, Alan Gratz tells the story of this group of amateur librarians’ mission to defend their right to read. Amy Anne’s contagious passion for books might just inspire young readers to create their own locker libraries. Ages 9-11.
Elwyn Brooks White was a nervous child, but he took solace in a pet mouse, his family’s farm, and the written word. Barbara Herkert’s A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider (Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt, $18.99) follows the life of children’s author, journalist, and essayist E.B. White. Simple, lyrical prose traces White’s journey from a small boy beset with hay fever to a seasoned reporter and columnist who dreamed of adventurous mice. White’s passion for the natural world inspired stories in which small, thoughtful underdogs—rodents, pigs, spiders—were heroes. Lauren Castillo’s warm, adorable illustrations gently draw readers into E.B. White’s world. Ages 7-10.