Cover image for Gumbrella
Root, Barry.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Putnam's, [2002]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Gumbrella loves nursing sick animals back to health, but she hates letting them go.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.6 0.5 65029.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Gumbrella loves cute little animals, and she's the "take-charge" type. So when her brother, Trumbull, comes home with a hurt mouse, naturally she starts an animal hospital. Soon the house is filled with sick animals, and Gumbrella couldn't be happier. There's only one problem. Months later when they are all feeling fine, Gumbrella can't bear to let them go home. In the first book that Barry Root has both written and illustrated, his wry humor captures all the vulnerability behind even the bossiest of big sisters.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS^-Gr. 1. Gumbrella the elephant is delighted to help her fellow animals. More specifically, she wants to start an animal hospital where she will be both nurse and doctor (she tells her brother that he can be the ambulance). Eric the mouse is her first patient, and by the time she's done hovering, he can't wait to be sprung. But Gumbrella has different ideas. Eric's stuck. Squirrels with sniffles, moles with mumps, crows with croup--no one gets to go home. When spring arrives, the animals finally fly the coop. Distressed, Gumbrella becomes sick, and then it's up to her former patients to turn the tables. Root's story has a comfy familiarity, an unwritten moral about treating others the way you would want to be treated, and bouncy pictures executed in watercolor, gouache, and pastel pencil that have as much oomph as Gumbrella herself--though only the dust jacket is a face-front view. A story hour choice that might spark discussion among little ones. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Gumbrella is a pachyderm with a purpose, and nothing's going to stop her. When Gumbrella's brother discovers an injured mouse in the forest, she opens an animal hospital, turns Trumbull, her cowed brother, into an ambulance and stocks her sick ward with "squirrels with sniffles, mice with measles, and moles with mumps." Acting as doctor, nurse and entertainment director, the industrious elephant cares for her charges even after they beg to leave ("Go home! What a ridiculous idea!" says Gumbrella). Young stuffed-animal doctors and nurses-in-training will be delighted by Root's (Brave Potatoes) good-intentioned Florence Nightingale wannabe, wonderfully rendered in a cheerful, color-saturated palette. Root cleverly depicts Gumbrella's single-minded altruism with visual winks-in one spread, she dances Isadora Duncan-style for her patients-coupled with a sly voice ("The animals had seen better dancing, but they all sat through it and clapped politely"). The turnaround-is-fair-play ending will also appeal: when Gumbrella grows despondent after her charges escape, they nurse her back to happiness with the same overprotective zeal. The pampered patient's wide-eyed bliss on the last page is proof that helping others has its own rewards. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-An enthusiastic elephant is hard to resist. Gumbrella decides to be nurse, doctor, and hospital administrator when her brother brings her an injured mouse. Realizing she has more to give than one patient can absorb, she appoints Trumbull the ambulance and sends him out to gather more ailing animals. Many small creatures bask in Gumbrella's healing hospitality until completely recovered. However, she refuses to release her charges. When they make a break for freedom, Gumbrella succumbs to a bout of depression. Hearing of her distress, her former patients return the favor and care for her-just the way she cared for them. Root's perky cartoon illustrations in radiant watercolor, gouache, and pastel pencil have a wealth of witty details. Any sister would wish for a brother as helpful and understanding as Trumbull though brothers may not be as eager to have such a headstrong, domineering sister. Most of the text is favorably placed for ease in reading to groups; however, a few pages have a muddy background with black print requiring good light. The expansive spreads are the perfect setting for this effusive guardian. Children will enjoy Root's first endeavor as both illustrator and author.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.