Mr Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham is a book I think I first read to Big over a decade ago. It’s timeless – as he punts his way down the river picking up passengers as he goes. It’s a pretty big boat – by the time he’s done, he’s got all sorts of animals in there, right up the size of a calf. And you can imagine what is going to happen next.
It reminds me a little of the old woman who swallowed a fly – the story unwinds in a similar way, though without all the repetition. And everyone behaves as you’d think they would, with children squabbling, the cat chasing the rabbit and so on. Lots of scope for making silly animal noises as you read, and the sort of hatched pictures have got plenty of texture for enjoying.
Short, simple, sweet and enduring. A classic.
It’s got: lots and lots of animals in a boat.
It’s not: recommended by the RSPCA.