What do you call a walking, talking gargantuan egg who's in a nasty mood? Kevin O'Malley calls him Humpty Dumpty in his latest attention-getting picture book, Humpty Dumpty Egg-splodes. From the get-go, O'Malley signals the book's giggly atmosphere with end pages depicting the library shelf in his Mother Goose Land. Lost Sheep by Bo Peep and Dr. Little Boy Blue's book Sleep Disorders foreshadow the kind of thinking you'll need for this plot spiraling story.

Kevin O'Malley's in-your-face illustrations (each one with a subplot of its own) help tell the story of one bad day in Mother Goose Land, where your favorite childhood characters, while always remaining in character, are forced to deal with a flipped out Humpty who's on a rampage. Old King Cole enlists Jack Be Nimble and other village folks, including Peter Piper and Peter Pumpkin Eater, who might help rid the town of their eggshelled Godzilla.

I've got it! barked Old King Cole. Do you know the Muffin Man? The Muffin Man? asked Jack.

The Muffin Man! Do you know the Muffin Man? asked the king.

Oh sure, said Jack, he lives on Drurey Lane.
You don't have to be a children's lit scholar to enjoy the clever word play. But the story will have you scurrying back to your raggedy childhood Mother Goose book, rereading it with questions like: What ever happened to those three men in a tub, anyway? Perhaps the double-page, gaping-jaw portrait of a flustered Mother Goose isn't the best way to lull the kiddos into sleepyland, but Humpty does have a wonderful support system in this community of classic characters who finally address his needs; thus, a fairy tale ending.

Not only a good chuckle for kiddos, Humpty Dumpty Egg-splodes is a heavyweight for adult parody humor. What would Mother Goose say to O'Malley's spin of her beloved rhyming family? I'm pretty sure it would ruffle her feathers.

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