The Gulps

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Overview

With their trademark wit and wisdom, Rosemary Wells and Marc Brown present a groundbreaking-and side-splittingly slapstick!-story which introduces the importance of healthy habits. When a fast-food fanatic family of bunnies set out vacation, they pack their RV full of TVs, Jiffy Chips, and Winky Twinks. But when the weighed-down vehicle wheezes to a halt in the middle of nowhere, Farmer Spratt saves the day by showing the Gulps the value of a fresh, home-cooked meal and the lasting benefits of physical activity. ...

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Overview

With their trademark wit and wisdom, Rosemary Wells and Marc Brown present a groundbreaking-and side-splittingly slapstick!-story which introduces the importance of healthy habits. When a fast-food fanatic family of bunnies set out vacation, they pack their RV full of TVs, Jiffy Chips, and Winky Twinks. But when the weighed-down vehicle wheezes to a halt in the middle of nowhere, Farmer Spratt saves the day by showing the Gulps the value of a fresh, home-cooked meal and the lasting benefits of physical activity. The Gulps' transformation is sure to inspire a generation of super-sized kids-and parents-to turn over a new leaf!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This rather pointed romp centers on a sedentary, supersize family that sets off on a trip to Dizzyland. After loading their RV with cartons of not-so-goodies (Cheezie Chips, Koko Snax), the Gulps munch their way down the road, with Sister Gulp looking forward to "Roller Coaster Mania" and Brother Gulp fantasizing about deep-fried Devil Dogs. Dawn, the youngest and only slim sibling, remarks: "I'd rather sip a carrot shake and go paddling in the duck pond." A stop at Belly-Up Burger leaves the clan too heavy for the vehicle to move. A friendly farmer invites them to stay for supper, where the portly guests are appalled to find that the fare is fresh from the garden. When next day the Gulps are too out of shape to help with the chores and get stuck in the water slide at the county fair, they (at Dawn's insistence) change their nutrition and exercise routines. The book glosses over how long the Gulps impose on the farmer family, but by summer's end, the Gulps are fit enough to ride their Dreamliner into the sunset, pulling into Salad Circus for sustenance ("Ultrasize those tomatoes!" says Papa). Wells's peppy narrative and Brown's playful gouache on wood paintings serve up a strong message that may need a spoonful of sugar to go down. Ages 3-6. (Apr.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
It should be promising that this book is a collaboration between Rosemary Wells, renowned creator of Max and Ruby, and Marc Brown, the equally acclaimed creator of endless Arthur books. The endpaper says that after a dinner party the pair decided to do a fun story together to encourage good eating habits. Unfortunately, the result falls short. The story recounts how the large RV of an obese rabbit family named Gulp breaks down because "this family's too fat to roll." That is, everyone in the family but the youngest, Dawn. Predictably, precocious Dawn gets the rest of the family to work on the Sprat family farm, supposedly to earn enough to fix their caravan. In reality, of course, the family loses weight, eats right, and lose their taste for fast food. Wells' resolution is heavy-handed and contrived. Brown's signature humanoid animal characters look like stereotypes for before pictures for a weight loss program. Altogether, Wells and Brown's after-dinner project is closer to being offensive than it is to being an incentive for healthy eating habits.
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2
A paean to healthful eating and physical fitness. Sadly, too many youngsters resemble the overweight Gulps, who are undeniably human, despite Brown's signature bunny ears. The family is headed for a theme park in their RV filled with televisions and junk food. When the vehicle breaks down, the youngest child recognizes that it is overloaded. The only trim person in the family, Dawn enjoys vegetables and is in heaven when a neighborly man, Farmer Spratt, invites them into his home. However, the others are miserable; their bodies prevent them from doing even the simplest tasks. While these couch potatoes welcome an outing to a county fair with deep-fried treats, the reality of their physical condition hits home. A dance platform and a wagon collapse under their weight, and the waterslide must close after they get stuck. Redemption for the Gulps comes in the form of exercise and sensible eating with vacation plans switched to a hike up "Mount Dauntless." Brown's busily patterned cartoons in confectionery colors with cotton-candy clouds humorously depict the rotund characters in this tongue-in-cheek tale. For group sharing where obvious parallels could prove hurtful to an overweight child, consider Bernard Waber's equally humorous and more subtle Fast Food! Gulp! Gulp! (Houghton, 2001).
—Gloria KosterCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
It's unfortunate that this disappointingly didactic and extremely insensitive tale of a fat family that finds fitness on the farm is guaranteed a place in most libraries. The enormous talent of both author and illustrator just can't overcome the predictable plot or make the overt prejudice against the overweight palatable. The Gulps, a mostly obese family of anthropomorphized rabbits, never met fast food they didn't love. Only the youngest child, Dawn, enjoys healthy snacks and being active. When the family sets out one day for "Dizzyworld," their RV breaks down under their weight. They find shelter with the Spratt family (subtle it's not) and inexplicably end up spending the summer on their farm. Despite initial resistance, they eventually embrace healthy eating and regular exercise. Of course, obesity is a serious health problem, and the picture-book format may not offer opportunities to examine nuances. But it's still frustrating to compare this to the way that Wells's irrepressible Max or Brown's Arthur might have encouraged kids to be healthier. Well-intentioned but decidedly substandard. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316014601
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.37 (w) x 12.12 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Rosemary Wells's career as an author and illustrator spans more than 30 years and 60 books. She is the creator of such unforgettable characters as Ruby and Max, Noisy Nora, and Yoko. She has also given Mother Goose new life in the bestselling My Very First Mother Goose. She lives in Greenwich, CT.

Marc Brown is the creator of the hugely popular Arthur Adventure series. He is also the executive creative producer of the Emmy Award-winning PBS television series Arthur. He lives in Tisbury, Massachusetts, on Martha's Vineyard.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 7 )
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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    On the Fence ....

    My 4 yr old picked this out. I wasn't sure at first if this was a good idea after I looked at the book. Then we read it. I am still unsure if this is a 'safe' message for kids or not. Now, my son is 4. He just thinks we need to eat right and exercise. Which is a good understanding and message. But I do worry about the way it was sent and the way it is perceived. To a child it may seem more harmless than to an adult who may think more into.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Good book

    I disagree with some of the previous reviewers. It puts childhood obesity in a way for children to understand...that healthy eating and exercise can improve your life. I think that is the message that Brown and Wells were trying to accomplish with this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2011

    What's the message here?

    Fatties are funny! That's the real take-away from this hateful diatribe. As an early childhood educator, I wouldn't have "The Gulps" in my classroom. The only thing this book does is give more ammunition to bullies. The messages here are the same old, tired, stereotypical cliches about fat people. They are stupid, lazy, inconsiderate, and worthy of every ounce of scorn "regular" people can muster. Any messages about healthful eating and exercise will be lost among all the pointing and laughing. Obesity, especially childhood obesity, is a complex issue. It isn't going to be cured, or helped in any small way, by "The Gulps."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2007

    Gulps? is the a joke? I am not laughing.

    I would not reccomend this book for anyone with any common sense, if you want to really show how backwards and wrong we can be this would be the perfect joke or prank for your enemy. The use of the word Dizzyland and Twinkie, and burgers is tastelss as a nazi ,this takes on all the earmarks of being pure childhood hate images. Teaching this to any child could scar them for life against popular American icons, I for one am, disappointed with Mark Brown and Rosemary Wells for doing this this satirical name calling book that hurts more than it helps.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 16, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2010

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