Mr. Gumpy’s Outing

Burningham, J. (1970). Mr. Gumpy’s Outing. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

Awards: The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (1972 )
Kate Greenway Medal (1970)
Parent’s Choice Paperback Award
A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book
An ALA Notable Children’s Book

Mr. Gumpy kindly permits anyone who promises to behave onto his boat for a ride. It is a lovely day and at first all the children and animals mind their manners. Until they all end up doing exactly what Mr. Gumpy asked them not to do. And all at once! The children squabble, the rabbit hops, the chickens flap, and so on until chaos quickly ensues. Nonetheless, Mr. Gumpy realizes it is simply their nature, and handles the rest of the day with calmness and a tea party. The humour of everything going exactly the opposite of how Mr. Gumpy had hoped will appeal to young children.

The illustrations add a lot of detail and information to the text. Burningham’s line drawings are enhanced with crayon, wash, and other media, and in doing so, he has created a signature style that invites readers to pour over the pages. His sensitive treatment begins with the delicate sepia line drawings and continues with gleaming areas of coloured cross-hatching and luminous ink washes to create a charming English countryside setting.

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