GREENAWAY MEDAL WINNER – 1970
by John Burningham
London: Jonathan Cape, 1970
Interests: animals, boats, river life, siblings
Also by this author: Avocado Baby, Borka, Come Away from the Water Shirley, Edwardo: The Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World
Kind Mr. Gumpy will give a ride to anyone on his boat, provided they behave. Once his boat is totally full, however, everyone misbehaves and they all end up in the water. No harm done, they wade ashore and have tea. Mr. Gumpy says they can go for another ride anytime.
A gentle lesson in the futility of expecting people (and animals) to act against their own nature. You can’t realistically expect a rabbit not to hop, a chicken not to flap, a cow not to trample… and a brother and sister not to squabble. The best part is that even though the whole boat tips over, nobody loses their cool. Instead of lecturing or scolding, the unflappable Mr. Gumpy invites them over for tea and treats.
Entertaining for all ages; the repetitive, rhythmic text will delight the very young, as will the predictability of the outcome.