Mr Gumpy’s Motor Car – John Burningham

More in the Series – Mr Gumpy
“More in the Series” scores the other books in a series where one (or more) of the books have made it into the 1001 Books list. Mostly because I’m a bit of a completionist. 

POINTS: 3 out of 10.

Bechdel: 0 points
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story: 2 points.
Discretionary ideological points: 1 point.

I strongly preferred this one to the first one. I think maybe because it felt much more universal to me – less twee and British than the whole ‘punting down the river’ thing. It’s still pretty British with its old cart tracks and fields, and the old car is somehow very British countryside, but the general story of getting caught in the rain and having to push (but nobody wants to, of course) feels just a little more universal.

There’s still only one (unnamed) female character in the book, so no Bechdel passes here, and no real diversity to speak of. Ideologically, there’s not much going on, although this one is again slightly better, in my opinion, than the first one. The first one was a lot more “do what you’re told” where, in this one, the message seems more along the lines of “if you’re selfish, everyone suffers” which is an ideology I can get behind. 😉 There’s a clear “working together for the good of the whole” thing going on, which pleases my social-humanist heart. And for that I am giving it one point.

Honestly, though? Mr Gumpy is not, in my opinion, Burningham’s best creation. He has several other books I’d recommend over these, the best of which (in my opinion) is Oi! Get Off Our Train! which directly addresses conservation and climate issues, while still being charming, and actually kind of funny!

What do you think? Are you a Burningham fan? What do you think of his Mr Gumpy books?



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