What REALLY Happened to Humpty?

Title:  What Really Happened to Humpty? (Nursery-Rhyme Mysteries)

Author: Jeanie Franz Ransom

Description: Humpty’s brother, Joe a detective is convinced that Humpty didn’t just fall…he was pushed. He is given one day to use the clues, and figure out who did it.


  • Inferencing
  • Perspective Taking
  • Figurative Language
  • “why” questions/higher-level language/problem solving
  • curriculum connections: fairy tales/nursery rhymes
  • Story generation/narrative skills

Why I like this book: A great story for elementary to upper elementary students to address higher level language skills. The book is funny….kids are entertained while addressing lots of language goals.

Ideas for this book:

  • There are endless opportunities for students to practice inferencing skills. I like to use Mindwingconcepts approach to inferencing with the “Remember”(clues from text/pics) + Know (background knowledge)= Guess (inference) to break down this process. An example from the story. Detective Dumpty runs into Little Red Riding Hood who is feeling upset. She states that Muffin Man is scrambling to fill  a big order. She can’t even buy a muffin for her grandmother. “Why is she angry?” “Why can’t she buy a muffin?” “How do we know that she is angry,” etc.
  • Additionally, Detective Dumpty has lots of “clues” to put together to make a guess as to who may have wanted to harm his brother. Have students keep track of the “clues.” They can write them down on a white board, or even use an app to track: Popplet could be a good choice to track all the clues. A different popplet for each clue/character could be used
  • There are lots of perspectives in this story. Little Miss Muffet, a spider, even Goldilocks. To help students understand, pair with “Braidy” from Mindwingconcepts. Have students tell the story from each character’s point of view using story grammar elements. What was the initiating event/kickoff for Little Miss Muffet?
  • Use thinking and speaking bubbles to help kids understand character motivations. Why would Miss Muffet lie? What was she thinking about (want)?
  • There are lots of examples of figurative language: hard-boiled detective, shooting the breeze, hit the streets, bare/bear, etc. Have students use context clues to guess what these sayings could mean.
  • The book is filled with opportunities for students to answer higher level “why” questions.
  • The story references several other fairy tales/nursery rhymes. Have students look up these other fairy tales. Discuss their purpose/moral or resolution, and how it connects to the story. For example, what happened in the story of the 3 Little Pigs? Have students “retell” the story to you, explaining the “salient” parts. This could be paired with the Story Grammar Marker (“Braidy”) through Mindwingconcepts as stated above. Have students verbally explain the connection to this story.Encourage cohesive ties (i.e. because, so, etc.)
  • At the end of the story, Detective Dumpty discussed other future cases. Have students write the next story based on one of his cases (i.e. Dish ran away with the spoon, Little Bo Peep Lost her Sheep, etc.).
  • Available through Charles Bridge Publishing with a link to Detective Dumpty’s own website

Submitted by; Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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