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