Jenny's Picture Book Review: 'Mr Gumpy's Outing' by John Burningham

'Mr Gumpy's Outing' by John Burningham

This time it's another one from my own childhood, something of a classic from one of my favourite illustrators, John Burningham.

'Mr Gumpy's Outing' tells the simple tale of a day on the river with a menagerie of friends who, one by one, ask to come along.  With satisfying rhythm, 'The goat kicked, The calf trampled, The chickens flapped... the boat tipped..." and to the delight of any young reader they all end up in the river. Luckily Mr Gumpy is a forgiving soul and asks them all to 'Come for a ride another day' (this bit always outrages Mr B who see's their disobedience as beyond the pale).

It's the illustrations which I remember vividly though. Simple pen and ink combined with experimental mixed media - washes, resists, ink, crayon, line, texture - an enviable looseness that gives real personality to all the characters,  and renders an idyllic picture of a carefree day out in the untamed (but unthreatening) English countryside. 

'Mr Gumpy's Outing' by John Burningham
'Mr Gumpy's Outing' by John Burningham
'Mr Gumpy's Outing' by John Burningham
'Mr Gumpy's Outing' by John Burningham