Losing Toys and Finding Solace 30/03/20
Mr Gumpy's Rhino
Here's something lovely: a brand-new (and final) adventure for the Mr Gumpy character from the much-loved, picture-book legend John Burningham, who sadly passed away in 2019.
This time, Mr Gumpy is off on an adventure, rescuing a rhino who has lost its parents... But growing rhinos need lots of food. Will Charlie the rhino and Mr Gumpy manage to make a happy home together?
It's good to have Mr Gumpy back after 30 years and have him tackling the plight of the rhino, which has vulnerable status and is still being poached for its horn.
However, the story is an extremely gentle one that doesn't dwell on these issues and instead spends time on the friendship that grows between Mr Gumpy, the rhino and all the children it meets. Everything is painted in John Burningham's shimmering ink washes, which reinforces this soft and tender-feeling treatment.
Children will love watching the rhino get into all kinds of situations: silly, surreal and also thoughtful ones, where the rhino helps out the village with everything from transport to clearing the roads of grass.
The book offers a conversation starter about conservation and helping endangered and vulnerable animals, but it can also be enjoyed as a sweet story of kindness and animal-human friendship.