Mr. Gumpy's Outing

by John Burningham

Other authorsJohn Burningham (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1971



Call number




Henry Holt (1971), Edition: 1st, 32 pages


Mr. Gumpy accepts more and more riders on his boat until the inevitable occurs.

User reviews

LibraryThing member slovepb
Mr Gumpy is joined in his boat by children and animals. All is well until they do what they were told not to - tease, chase, stamp, muck about....
LibraryThing member dchaves
At first I thought it was Mr. GRUMPY and I couldn't figure out why a grumpy man would be allowing everyone into the boat! I like the pace and repetition.
LibraryThing member mshuster
cut out magnetic pieces to accompany and retell the story on a magnetic surface such as a chalkboard.
LibraryThing member hartn
Mr. Gumpy’s Outing, by John Burningham. Little Greats edition, 1970.

The illustrations in this work are of an impressionistic, sketchy style but the people and objects that correspond to the text are isolated well. On one side of the spread the text is followed by a brown sketch and on the other
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side a vibrant picture. Some of the pages include both text and picture – as with the first, while some offer only illustration – as with the last page. Mr. Gumpy is almost always looking at the reader, but as everyone is brought under the same circumstances at the end, Mr. Gumpy looks more to the other characters, as if a relationship between them has formed.
The story is cumulative, with each alternating page showing the next person or animal to go with Mr. Gumpy on his outing in his boat. Mr. Gumpy has many directions to his passengers, and these are all repeated at the climax of the tale.
Gumpy is an interesting name and I couldn’t help but think that the subtle persistent tone of the man providing every one with a rule (a don’t) made the connection between Gumpy and Grumpy enter into the mind. It seemed the author was molding an expectation or assumption as a way to force the question ‘Why isn’t Mr. Gumpy grumpy?’ and create a model to admire despite a text void of character development.
The illustrations may be difficult for very young children, but the text is probably perfect – though not very musical, a range of voices can be displayed to create excitement around each character. Older children may find the text too sparse.
The book has a very clear beginning, middle, and end. The unity of a journey or outing being associated with reading time is paralleled with the difficulty of sharing that journey with some rambunctious children and offers an opportunity to put that moment into a figurative space of great concision and vibrant colours.
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LibraryThing member conuly
Simply written and illustrated, good for the younger crowd, especially when you need them to calm down.
LibraryThing member jessy555
Genre: Fantasy
Critique of Genre: This is a cute example of fantasy because all the animals around his property ask Mr. Gumpy if they can take a ride on the boat with him. He lets them come along if they agree to be still so as not to tip the boat.
Media: mixed media
LibraryThing member TimiF
Mr. Grumpy sets out on a boat ride. Along the ride, he picks up two children. After that, a bunny appears and want to ride. More and more animals appear and want to ride with Mr. Grumpy. Mr. Grumpy allows everyone to ride, but tells them how to behave. As more animals fill the boat, everyone
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forgets what Mr. Grumpy has told them about behavior. Once everyone starts misbehaving, the boat topples over.
This book is great for teaching kids to follow rules. I suggest that pre-k through thrid grade read this book. This book made me think of all the times my mother told me not to do something, and when I did, I learned not to do it again.
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LibraryThing member Superdaisy
I can see how a kindergartener would love this, and an older child would leap upon the repetitiveness as a comfortable read.
LibraryThing member DreamingTikay
I bought this book for my daughter of four, she had and we enjoyed it for book for some years time, having loads of choices, we only read it on occasion, like most, but it is one of those books that always pleases, and will last many years, we finally recently let it go, and I almost wish we kept
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it on a few more years...okay I do. The book is pretty wonderful, the story and art work... rather, soar. Well deserving of the award. Enjoy it.
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LibraryThing member ageoflibrarius
Cute and funny short book. Can serve as a lesson for following directions. Also, kids can learn the characteristics of different animals. Vocabulary like squabled, flapped, and bleated can be introduced. Not sure why Mr. Gumpy has no qualms about what happens on his boat, but perhaps he is just
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laid back like that. Also a conversation starter!

Love the crosshatch and (watercolor? paint?) imagery.
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LibraryThing member mheitz
Mr. Gumpy is an old man just trying to get out on the river with his boat. Along the way he picks up additional passengers...a bunny, a cat, a dog, a pig, a sheep, chickens,a calf, a goat and his grandchildren. It was all fine until one kick of the goat set off a series of unfortunate events that
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caused the boat to tip over. I love how even though this happens, they all can still have tea together after they swim ashore and get dry.

As a mentor text, I would have my students rewrite the story in the form of a play script identifying all the key parts of a play.
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LibraryThing member mderob1
This story is very simple and repetitive. The grumpy man keeps lettings animals on his boat until the inevitable happens and the boat tips over. The grumpy man sets rules for each animal such as “ very well, but don’t muck around.” At the end on the story each animal breaks their rule, which
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is why they tip. I liked this very simple story and think it would be a great book for a child to try and read on their won. The illustrations are simple as well and not very detailed. There is not a main idea to this story. One activity that this book could be used for is a re aloud. Stop and ask the students “how many animals will be on the boat when the chickens get on?”
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LibraryThing member MiguelPut
At first, I didn't like it. Only when I recognized that Mr. Gumpy is a really good guy did I come around. My 3 yo loved it from the start. His warmth must have appealed to her.
LibraryThing member SaritaInce
A delightful story about an ever expanding group of travelers and a seemingly grumpy man. All is well that ends well and this story has a simple gentleness. The artwork is a combination of tightly woven pencil hash marks and full color painting. Unique textures and a simple story make this a
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perfect read aloud book.
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
Not quite to my taste, but does deserve a place in the library so every toddler can see it at least once.

The pattern exists, but the words don't repeat. I can't decide if I like that or not. A tot will have her vocabulary expanded, 'don't flap,' 'don't muck about,' etc. But she will not be able to
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readily memorize the chorus and be able to chant along.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
When Mr. Gumpy goes out on the river one day, a series of passengers - two children, a rabbit, cat, dog, pig, sheep, some chickens, a calf and a goat - ask to join him on his outing. Our eponymous hero grants each request, with the proviso that each child or animal must behave. Although peaceful at
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first, Mr. Gumpy's crowded boat eventually overturns when its passengers forget their promise. Despite that fact, Mr. Gumpy invites them on an outing another day...

Originally published in the UK in 1970, Mr. Gumpy's Outing was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal - named for celebrated illustrator Kate Greenaway, this medal is Britain's preeminent award for illustrations in a children's book - and is considered a modern classic in the picture-book category. Being more familiar with Burningham's more recent titles, I was surprised and charmed to find that the artwork here is a little bolder, with more use of color than in books like Picnic or Motor Miles. Overall I liked the effect of the illustrations, and also appreciated the use of language here, as Mr. Gumpy issues his strictures to his passengers. The children must not squabble, the pig must not muck about, the sheep must not bleat, and so on, introducing younger children to vocabulary that might otherwise be unfamiliar to them. Recommended to anyone looking for engaging stories for the picture-book set!
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Boston Globe–Horn Book Award (Winner — Picture Book — 1972)


Original language


Original publication date



0805007083 / 9780805007084

Other editions

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