Mr Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham
One fine morning Mr. Gumpy decides it’s a perfect day for an outing in his little boat. Apparently, plenty of others think so, too. First some children ask to join him, then a rabbit, a cat, a dog, a pig, a sheep … Soon, Mr. Gumpy’s boat is precariously full and the animals break all the rules he has set. There’s nowhere for anyone else to go but overboard but this mild mariner takes everything in his stride.
Rules, fighting, consequences, risk, safety, responsibility, blame
Questions to explore with children
Younger Children (approx 3 7)
- If someone asks you for something do you have to say yes?
- Is letting someone play with you ever the wrong thing to do?
- Should you be told off if you don’t follow the rules?
- Is it a good thing to ask for the things you want?
- When could getting what you want be a bad thing?
- If you think an accident is going to happen, should you try to stop it, or tell someone?
- Is arguing ever a good thing to do?
Older Children (approx. 8 12)
- Is it always good to take a risk?
- Is breaking a rule ever okay?
- Should there rules for breaking rules?
- Can someone change their nature?
- Should you expect someone to change their nature?
- Would you be stupid if you followed a rule when everyone else was breaking it?
- What areas of life would be better without rules?
- If a rule is constantly broken can it be a good rule?
- Who should be responsible for making sure people follow good rules?
- If an accident happens is someone always to blame?
- Should people be punished if they cause accidents that do harm?
Reasoning. Look at the following sentences and decide whether or not you agree and what your reasons are:
- Arguing is always better than fighting.
- Following rules is always better than breaking them.
- Being safe is always better than taking a risk.
- Saying yes is always better than saying no.