A River Safari

IMG_4718For my first entry in the Small Fry Safari Reading Challenge I bring you a book with Safariness in the title Mr. Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham. Published by Henry Holt & Co. in 1971. Mr. Burningham happens to be the husband of Ms Helen Oxenbury. What a truly talented pair!!

Now, you may know that I have a passion for rivers — my river, the Paluxy, in particular. It’s the only river I’ve ever actually explored. But I figure that all rivers must be as fine as my Paluxy River.


IMG_4742Mr. Gumpy’s Outing is about a “safari” on the river. Mr. Gumpy liked to go out on the river in his boat. One day some children asked if they could come along. Mr. Gumpy said, “Yes, if you don’t squabble.” As they floated down the river they encountered a rabbit who wanted to join them. Mr. Gumpy said ok, “but don’t hop about.” They continued to meet up with various animals who wanted to join them on their “river safari” and Mr Gumpy allowed each animal to come aboard if they promised to behave in their own way. So the traveling group grew to include a cat, a dog, a pig, a sheep, a chicken, a calf, and a goat. That was one loaded down, crowded boat!! Putting together all those different personalities in a small space is surely a recipe for diasaster!

IMG_4743 But they all traveled merrily along, until — the goat kicked. And it all went downhill from there, with each animal in turn doing that which it had promised not to do, until —- the boat tipped over and everyone fell in the river! They all swam out and lay on the river bank to dry out in the sun. Then they all walked back to Mr Gumpy’s house across the long, endless fields, and had tea.

What a great lovely adventure! With a lovely ending. I surely do like Mr Gumpy!

Now you may ask, ” where is the safari in a float down a river?” Well, in Swahili the word safari means a long journey. Mr Gumpy’s outing was certainly a long journey that included lots of animals. It was quite a grand journey for them all.

To find out more about Mr Burningham and see a gallery of his artwork visit HERE.
And a fun interview with him HERE.

If you might be looking for more adventure, you might travel over to visit Gargoyle Bruce at his safari station HERE.

IMG_2438I wish for you many fun adventures in the coming year,
and may you meet lots of friends along the way!
Happy floating!

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23 thoughts on “A River Safari

  1. What a great book Rhythm. Sounds like your kind of journey. I saw a MG book on another website I know you don’t visit called “Ice Dogs” about sled dogs. It really sounded interesting! It just came out, I think. Can’t remember the site or author.

    • Look again Erik – there’s no R in that name! It’s Mr G-U-M-P-Y. Gumpy. I don’t know exactly what Gumpy means, if anything. I was told that when the Mom Person’s kids were little they called their Granddad Gumpy. It must be a Granddad thing. Anyway, This Mr Gumpy is sure a very even tempered, pleasant soul.

  2. Rhythm, you look divine in this outfit!! I love the word “Safariness” and thinking about a safari as a long journey. I’d love to safari with you, Rhythm.
    Lots of pats and kisses,

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