Why I love Mr. Gumpy's Outing

Mr. Gumpy's Outing by John Burningham, 1970

Joyous illustrations and a surprising storyline make this a true classic.

I expected Mr. Gumpy to get, well, grumpy, since his name looks and sounds so like the word. I was waiting for him to tell one of the animals, “No! I’m all full!” but even when the overloaded boat tipped, he kept his smile (mostly) and invited everyone back for more fun.

What a contrast to what a child typically encounters with adults. She hears, “Don’t fuss” and when the fussing happens (it always happens) it’s scolding or impatience. The story drew me in, but ultimately the illustrations captivated me.

Free and happy crosshatch and spatter, mix of crayon, water color, pastel, pen and ink ... delightfully messy and resounding with mood and true artistic merit. An absolute favorite.