A Family of Readers, and it mentioned a book I had not thought of in years: Mr. Gumpy's Outing.
I checked it out from the library (the copy was ancient (this book was first published in 1970) and I tried not to think of the forty years of dirty fingers that had touched it). Reading it to Ella brought me such pleasure that when I saw a hardback copy of it on Borders for $1.31, well, I didn't linger over the "Buy" button very long.
Mr. Gumpy owns a boat and his house is by a river. Naturally, when he goes out on his boat, two children are eager to join him. He agrees, on the condition that they "don't squabble." Soon he has collected a veritable ark of passengers, all who have been instructed not to do various things (my favorite being the pig who is asked not to "muck about").
For a while, all is calm, but then, "the goat kicked, the calf trampled. . . " and, well, you can imagine what happens next. Fortunately, Mr. Gumpy is not the least bit grumpy about the day's adventures and all ends happily.
The art is so folksy and sweet and the text has such a nice rhythm, that it's the perfect book for a very young child.
This is one I'm glad to have on my bookshelf and that I will likely read more than one gazillion times to my children. Now to look for the new-to-me (but still 35 year-old) companion book, Mr. Gumpy's Motor Car.