Mr Gumpy’s Rhino


Mr Gumpy is travelling in Africa when he encounters the orphaned baby rhino, starving for milk. Supplies are scarce, and Mr Gumpy and Charlie, as he names the rhino, bargain with Bedouin and travel through the night to find milk for feeding.
Eventually, Mr Gumpy and Charlie take a ship to Mr Gumpy’s home. There, Charlie’s fed lettuces, grows quickly and becomes a neighbourhood celebrity.

A child suggests Charlie could be employed by the council to keep the grass down along the roadsides. He wears a hi vis jacket and settles into his role.

On the annual day to the seaside, where they’ll take a boat ride, the children’s journey is delayed by heavy traffic! Just in time Charlie arrives at the scene and transports all the children across the fields, racing to the boat. Yet it seems it’s left the dock without them!

With a gripping storyline and his familiar line drawing and watercolours, John Burningham offers a really engrossing picture book. There is so much that we know of Charlie and his situation. It feels as though we’re invested quickly and thoroughly and really believe in and trust Mr Gumpy.

Bookwagon loves Mr Gumpy’s Rhino and recommends it highly. John Burningham’s picture books are to be treasured.

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Mr Gumpy’s Rhino

John Burningham

(Penguin)– hardback

Mr Gumpy’s Rhino was discovered by Mr Gumpy when he ‘was travelling in Africa’. The baby rhinoceros was alone and in need of more milk than Mr Gumpy was carrying aboard. It led to Mr Gumpy driving ‘through the night because it was so hot in the day‘. Thereafter, he named the rhino Charlie, and took him home to ‘his own house’.
Charlie worked for the local council ‘eating all the grass and leaves at the side of the road‘. It meant Charlie wore a special jacket and was recognised by all the townspeople. Thereafter, it meant that Charlie bundled to the rescue when the children’s bus to the seaside was stuck in traffic. ‘He charged through the hedges in a straight line to the sea’. Yet what will Charlie do if the boat has left from the seaside dock already, without the children?
From Motor Miles to More Would You Rather…, John Burningham’s picture books are stories that linger and mean something. We feel as though we know Charlie and the children and feel a resolution to his situation. Bookwagon loves the gentle wash tones, the line drawings and the thoroughly engaging story of Mr Gumpy’s Rhino.


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