January 25th, 2021

Bookshow at Home A-Z of Artists

Bookshow at Home with John Burningham

We are celebrating a new section of our website which features an A-Z of all the artists who have taken part in The Children’s Bookshow over the last 18 years! So after Marta Altés last time, this week we shall focus on an artist whose surname begins with B, and of course the late John Burningham springs immediately to mind.

Back in 2017, we organised a performance with John Burningham in conversation with Judith Kerr and Nicolette Jones at the Old Vic in London. It was a magical event and really felt like we were watching a moment in history - those two giants of children’s book illustration together on stage for what turned out to be the last time.

There is a clip from this event below as well as a reading of one of our favourites Mr Gumpy’s Outing and some fun activities that you can do with children at school or at home.

Book of the Week: Mr Gumpy's Outing

Mr Gumpy takes his boat out onto the river and the children, the rabbit, the cat and many other friends want to join him. Everyone has a lovely time until the squabbling, bleating, kicking and flapping starts and the boat starts to tip…!

Author in focus

John Burningham’s best-known picture books include Mr Gumpy’s Outing, Mr Gumpy’s Motor Car, Come Away From The Water Shirley, Time To Get Out Of The Bath Shirley, Grandpa and Avocado Baby. He won the 1963 and 1970 Kate Greenaway Medals for British children’s book illustration, the only person to win twice. The first was for his debut book, Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers and the second for the enduring Mr Gumpy’s Outing. He received the Booktrust Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 together with Helen Oxenbury.

Watch a reading of Mr Gumpy's Outing

John answers a question at his performance in 2017


Retell the story with a 2D story map

Draw or make a story map of Mr Gumpy’s outing, showing who joins him along the way. Start by drawing Mr Gumpy’s cottage and the river. Draw the characters he takes onto his boat and draw what happens to them all at the end. Use the story map to retell the story to someone else.

Retell the story with a 3D story map

Use anything suitable you can lay your hands on from around the house to make a long and winding river. You could use rolled up sheets or towels; long lengths of wool or ribbon; painted strips of cardboard or an old roll of wallpaper.

Collect together toy people and animals to use as the passengers on Mr Gumpy’s boat. Find or make a boat for Mr Gumpy and his friends. This could be a small boat, using a toy figure as Mr Gumpy, or you could be Mr Gumpy and make a boat out of a big box and grab a broom or mop handle to push yourself through the water.

Use your 3D story map to re-enact the story, collecting the different passengers along the way and giving them warnings to behave, just like Mr Gumpy does. Take care when you fall overboard!

Finish by having some tea and cake – you will need it after such an exciting day out!

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