Library : Book Reviews > Mr. Gumpy’s Motor…

Mr. Gumpy’s Motor Car
Story & Illustrations by John Burningham

Review by: Christina Mark

     Mr. Gumpy decides to go for a ride.  As he is pulling out of his driveway, he is accosted by neighborhood children, a rabbit, a cat, a dog, a pig, a sheep, some chickens, a calf, and a goat who all ask if they can ride along. Mr. Gumpy graciously obliges and they all pile into the car.  It’s a beautiful, sunny day and everyone enjoys the ride until . . . uh-oh. . . it begins to rain!  The old, dirt road that they are riding on starts to get muddy. Mr. Gumpy suggests that some of his passengers many need to get out and push as the car is starting to get sluggish on the muddy road.  When Mr. Gumpy calls for volunteers, each passenger responds with “Not me” and an excuse as to why he or she cannot push.  Their excuses range from “I might catch cold” to my personal favorite from the pig, “I’ve a bone in my trotter” (though I have no idea what that means, it does sound like a reasonable excuse).  The dog even volunteers to drive to avoid having to push.  Finally, the car really gets stuck and EVERYONE has to get out and push.  So then everyone “pushed and shoved and heaved and strained and gasped and slipped and slithered and squelched” until . . . uh-uh. . . you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens next!

    This book somehow manages to combine simple language understandable to the very young with a great adventure story fun for everyone. The illustrations are wonderfully comical.  The book also teaches a great lesson about teamwork. Children enjoy chiming in with “Not me” as each passenger initially refuses to push. Both the pictures and the story will keep children entertained. And parents aren’t going to mind reading this pleasantly amusing story over and over and over again as this is sure to become a family favorite.

    I recommend this book for even the youngest listener who may not normally sit through a story. This story is good for ages 1 1/2 to 6 years.

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