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Mr. Gumpy's Outing Paperback – April 15, 1995

4.7 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

One fine morning Mr. Gumpy decides it's a perfect day for an outing in his little boat. Apparently, plenty of others think so, too. First some children ask to join him, then a rabbit, a cat, a dog, a pig, a sheep... Soon, Mr. Gumpy's boat is precariously full, and there's nowhere for anyone else to go--but overboard! This mild mariner takes everything in stride, though, and his guests are soon bellying up to a nice tea.

John Burningham earned the Kate Greenaway Medal, an ALA Notable Children's Book award, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Mr. Gumpy's Outing, and it's no wonder. This gifted and highly original author-illustrator creates a vision of glorious summer with deeply textured, sometimes only suggested, drawings. His tentatively questioning animals are ready to step right out of the pages and quietly join the delighted reader. And the simple, repetitive dialogue will lull the listener as long as it takes the characters to reach the boat's maximum capacity. Even then, there's no big splash--just an understated, Burningham-esque "and into the water they fell." Young readers will never tire of this gentle, comforting storybook. (Ages 2 to 6) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Despite Mr. Gumpy's warnings to the multitudinous animals and children on his barge, the outing turns soggy when the boat capsizes. Ages 2-6.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 390L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); Big edition (April 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780805038545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805038545
  • ASIN: 080503854X
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 0.3 x 17.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,958,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Burningham studied illustration and graphic design at the Central School of Art, graduating with distinction in 1959. Many illustration commissions followed including iconic posters for London Transport, before the publication of Borka: the Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers, John's first book for children (Cape, 1963) which won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration and heralded the beginning of an extraordinary career.

John Burningham has since written and illustrated over thirty picture books, that have been translated and distributed all over the world. These feature his classic and much loved children's books including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by Ian Fleming (Jonathan Cape, 1964); Mr Gumpy's Outing (Jonathan Cape, 1970) also awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal; Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne (Jonathan Cape, 1972); The Shopping Basket (Random House, 1980); The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (Penguin/Puffin, 1983); Granpa (Jonathan Cape, 1984) later made into an animated film and Oi! Get off our Train (Jonathan Cape, 1989) and various books for adults England (Jonathan Cape, 1992); France (Jonathan Cape, 1998); The Time of Your Life (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2002) and When We Were Young (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004).

Tug of War was republished in 2012, and a special edition of Borka, celebrating 50 years in print, was published in June 2013. Picnic appeared in the autumn of 2013 and The Way to the Zoo was published in the UK in 2014. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is celebrating its 50th year in print with a limited edition in hardback to be published in 2015.

John is married to the illustrator, Helen Oxenbury. They have three children, three grandchildren and a dog named Miles. They live in London.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Turtleback
As the mother of nine children I can assure you that Mr. Gumpy's Outing has prize winning appeal. It was often the first book our children asked for by name. Toddlers love the sequencing of the animals entering the boat. The illustrations are equally fascinating to them. I remember one of my little ones asking me in their tiny voice, "What does squabble mean, Mommy?" Even some early lessons on behavior can be gleaned from this timeless toddler favorite. It should be well worn and resting on every child's bookshelf.
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Format: Board book
This book falls firmly into a very specific genre of picture book literature. The old, if-one-more-person-gets-into-this-boat/mitten/car/etc.-bad-things-will-happen genre. Jan Brett's "The Mitten" does it. The more recent "One Dog Canoe" does it. But one of the first stories to have done it (and have a moral to boot) is the 1970 story "Mr. Gumpy's Outing".
Mr. Gumpy (who is not grumpy in the least) lives on the banks of a river, and owns a boat. As he goes for a boat ride, two children ask to come along. Mr. Gumpy gives them instructions on what not to do, and they join him. Next a bunny comes along. Mr. Gumpy tells it what not to do, and it joins him. As Mr. Gumpy poles his boat down the river, more and more animals join the party, each receiving a stipulation from Mr. Gumpy on what behavior is appropriate. After the boat fills, the animals suddenly ignore Mr. Gumpy's requests and begin to misbehave. As a result, they all topple headlong into the river, retiring to Gumpy's for tea.
Originally published in England (and if Mr. Gumpy isn't THE most English picture book gentleman you've seen outside of Paddington Bear himself, I'll eat my hat) the story is incredibly civilized. There's nothing like seeing a sheep delicately sipping from a straw to drill home the essential manners and protocols essential to everyday interactions. The illustrations are especially nice. Mr. Gumpy never looks particularly upset or angry by anything that happens to him. As he poles his boat a black and white pen and ink drawing on the left pages shows the boat and it's inhabitants. On the right page is a colorful drawing of the animal(s) asking to be allowed to join. The book, despite the whole falling into the water bit, is calm and peaceful. Just the kind of fun story you'd expect to be read on a cold rainy day. Highly recommended (especially with crumpets and bit of toast with marmalade).
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Format: Hardcover
One fine day, Mr. Gumpy goes punting. One by one, he takes on various passengers who PROMISE to behave, BUT... It is easy to forsee the outcome when a girl, a boy, a cat, a dog, a pig, a sheep, chickens, and assorted others all climb aboard. Told in lilting, repetitive passages that small children often adore, all ends as happily as one can expect on such a balmy afternoon, and with such an amiable host as is Mr. Gumpy. It comes as no surprise that MR GUMPY`S OUTING is a recipient of the Kate Greenaway medal, with the way John Burmingham`s illustrations pleasantly evoke the gentleness of the lazy summer`s day.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a thoroughly delightful book. The simple story engages small children, and the illustrations are first-rate. I have read this book countless times to my two pre-schoolers, and have enjoyed the experience very much. This book is an excellent way to get children interested in books. Finally, I recommend the hardback over the paperback because of the higher quality of the illustrations in the hardback.
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Format: Hardcover
When I was a little girl my parents read me this book and I, reportedly, loved it, so when I found it on the shelf I was thrilled to read it again, particularly about the pig "mucking about." The story goes like this: Mr. Gumpy goes for a ride in his punt on the river, and a lot of animals and children ask for rides, and he gives them strict instructions for boat behavior, which they eventually grossly violate, and then they all go in the drink. And go home and have tea. Yes, the story is a wee bit British. What strikes me as an adult, reading the book, is the casual loving way with which the children are included along with the other animals -- pigs, dog, children, goat, etc. It is a very sweet book and Benny and Sadie love it and find it hilarious. Publisher's Weekly's review of it presents it as a moral tale on boat safety. What a bunch of loons. ;D
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Format: Hardcover
Our grandchildren and great grandchildren love this story. Mr Gumpy takes an assorted bunch of children and animals on a ride in his boat. He admonished each to refrain from a certain behaviour (pig is told not to 'muck about', for example). But each ends up doing what he is told not to and the boat tips over. No recriminations, just a happy time drying off in the sun and going to Mr. Gumpy's house for tea.
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Format: Paperback
I must admit that this is one of my all time favorite children's books. To begin with, it is so British that when you read it with your child or grandchild, or any child for that matter, you are tempted to stand up and shout "God Save the Queen." The flavor of the entire book is purely English countryside mellow.

Mr. Gumpy decides to go for a boat outing. As he progresses on this wonderful trip he begins taking on passengers who want to join him on his punting trip...who wouldn't? As each passenger joins Mr. Gumpy agree with the stipulation that "Yes, if you don't squabble/Yes, but don't hop about.

Now both the adult reader and even the smallest of children know for sure what is going to happen and that is part of the fun of the book. Everyone know that the boat will eventually tip and possibly sink...indeed it does! But not all is lost because Mr. Gumpy and his friends all retire to his home for a nice tea time.

The illustrations in this book simply do not get any better. We have a mixture of very detailed paintings of the country side as the punt and the passengers travel down the river. These paintings are mixed with simple line drawings. This creates a stunning visual effect. To be honest, I would not mind any of these illustration framed and hanging in my home.

This is the sort of book that can be read over and over again with the little ones and it is like reading a new book each time. Not that it matters all that much to me as I tend to ignore such thing; hey, I like what I like, but this work by author and illustrator John Burningham from 1970 has made just about every list of best children's books both in the U.S. and Europe.

This was a library find.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
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