Mister Gumpy's Outing

Book review by
Peter Lewis, Common Sense Media
Mister Gumpy's Outing Book Poster Image
A picture-perfect scene of peace and contentment.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this gentle story beams out warmth and quiet humor with a moral lesson.

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What's the story?

The stuff that summer dreams are made of: John Burningham's tribute to a man, his modest little boat, two children, a selection of farm animals, and a lazy midsummer day. The book is a picture-perfect scene of peace and contentment, even when the boat unceremoniously dumps its passengers into the drink. Tea awaits.


Is it any good?

Mr. Gumpy's world is an idyll that extends beyond the page. You can feel the lazy heat of this summer's day, hear the crickets' chirr in the soft air and the sound of Mr. Gumpy's boat as it pushes through the meadow stream.

Matching the loveliness of his story stride for stride are Burningham's illustrations. These are luminous combinations of colored pen and wash and oils. On the left page is the gathering scene in the boat, done in black pen and ink. Stage right appear the successive occupants of the boat, each in turn, drawn loosely but with enormous presence.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about manners. Mr. Gumpy generously welcomes everyone aboard his boat but asks them to behave. Why do they need to behave? What lesson do they learn when they misbehave?

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