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Miss Rumphius

4.45  ·  Rating Details ·  19,613 Ratings  ·  682 Reviews
A beloved classic—written by a beloved Caldecott winner—is lovelier than ever!

Barbara Cooney's story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the
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Paperback, 32 pages
Published 1985 by Puffin Books (first published November 8th 1981)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Miriam
Feb 26, 2015 Miriam rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: quiet children
Shelves: picture
I am giving this 4 stars mostly for Ms. Cooney's lovely illustrations.



The story was pretty but not engrossing, and many children in the picture-book age group may be too restless for the rather passive account. I tended to like very active books as a kid, though! I would definitely recommend this if you or your child happen to be fond of flowers.

Roya
Sep 12, 2016 Roya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite
As I try to review the books that were read to me as a child, I come across a dilemma: I cannot review them all. Most of the books of my childhood, even when I read them now, aren't experiences I can easily put into words. Feelings of nostalgia are generally difficult for me to capture and I end up saying too much or not saying anything at all.

This book is an exception. I have just enough to say and I don't think I'll ever tire of it. The story is about the life of a woman called Miss Rumphius (
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Dolly
Nov 16, 2015 Dolly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Nicely illustrated story with a wonderful message. A young girl tells her grandfather that she wants to go to faraway places and when she grows up, to live beside the sea. Her grandfather's reply:

"That is all very well, little Alice," said her grandfather, "but there is a third thing you must do."

"What is that?" asked Alice.

"You must do something to make the world more beautiful," said her grandfather.

The young girl grows up and follows his advice, accomplishing all that she set out to do. An
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Jenna
Mar 26, 2009 Jenna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My mother read me this story when I was a child and it greatly impacted and inspired me. I carry this story with me-and intend to read it to my kids. It reminds me of Maine and my favorite flower as well-and it reminds me that even the smalled action can make the world a little better!
Anastasia
Jul 10, 2008 Anastasia rated it it was amazing
When I read this story for the first time, Miss Rumphius reminded me of my grandmother, who was then an older lady still making time to travel the world and see Egypt and other places that to me sounded mystical and exotic. She kept her own garden in the yard of her little house in Florida, and while her flowers were nothing like those in the story of Miss Rumphius they added a small touch of beauty to the place. The artwork in this story is itself a work towards adding beauty to the world: the ...more
Lisa Vegan
Jul 07, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy beautifully illustrated picture books
Recommended to Lisa by: Abigail A.
Thanks to Goodreads friend Abigail who recommended I might continue considering giving this book a try, despite her rather lukewarm response to it and (perfectly valid) criticisms of it. I have an additional criticism to the ones Abigail listed, but its minor, very minor, and doesn’t detract from the wonderful illustrations, which for me are the heart of the book. I’d have been happy had this been a wordless picture book!

The illustrations are incredibly lovely. They’re all beautiful. I love illu
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Rebekah
May 26, 2008 Rebekah rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: the world
My favorite childrens' book - with a lot to teach adults too. This gorgeous book tells the story of one person's quest to make the world a better place and teaches that everyone can do something, no matter how small, to improve life for everyone else. Plus I like to think it's set in Maine, which makes it even better. Please read this book, go forth and do something to make the world a better place. Even if you do not know yet what that thing might be.
Ruth
Sep 13, 2012 Ruth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, childrens-books
One of my all-time favorite children's books. Delightful to read aloud, as well.
Matthew
To check out all my reviews: http://dancinginth3dark.blogspot.com

This was a beautiful book that taught me lessons that I thought was not possible in a children's picture book. I highly recommend everyone to read this simple story especially for little girls because this book teaches you that you do not need to listen to the rules that society dictates one must accomplish instead become a better human being and contribute something to mother nature.

This story is about a little girl named Alice wh
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Brittany McCarty
Mar 21, 2016 Brittany McCarty rated it it was amazing
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, Publisher: Viking Penguin Inc., 1982, 32 pages, Genre: Picture Book, Children’s Fiction, Grade: 2, Guided Reading Level: M, Lexile: 682
Miss Rumphius tells the story of Alice as she grows from a young child who lives with her Grandfather to an older woman who goes by the “Lupine Lady.” The story begins with Alice and her grandfather discussing her three goals for her life: to live by the sea, to travel the world and to find a way to make the world more beautiful.
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Sarah
Mar 04, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
I want to give this 4.5 or almost 5 stars... BUT. It has this great life lesson, that we should do what we can to make the world a more "beautiful" place, and through her life, Miss Rumphius does all sorts of things that make the world better, happy, beautiful for others. However, I think it's a book that really needs a lot of discussion with the adult reader for little ones, because on the surface it seems to say "make the world pretty" and doesn't explicitly acknowledge that Miss Rumphius's ...more
Brenda
Sep 11, 2008 Brenda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-fiction
This is a children's book, but it really represents a lovely philosophy. Young Alice is told that there are three things she must do in her life:
1) She must travel to far away places.
2) She must live by the sea.
3) She must make the world more beautiful in some way.

She travels a bunch and then settles in a little house by the sea. She wonders how to make the world more beautiful and ends up growing lots and lots of pretty flowers.

I have traveled a lot and will travel more. I don't know if I wi
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Philitsa
Aug 13, 2010 Philitsa rated it it was amazing
I love this book, for myself and my kids. The main character resolves to spend her life traveling the world, settling down in a house by the sea, and making the world a more beautiful place. Those ideas were instilled in her by her grandfather, who did the same. When she gets old, she passes that down to other little kids.

So many kids' books focus on a little kid adventuring and don't highlight the importance of inter-generational relationships. Those are important in life, and is a focus of th
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Abi
May 23, 2012 Abi rated it really liked it
Shelves: youngerkids
I loved this book, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. However, it's hard to still give it 5-stars now that I know lupines are invasive species and considered weeds in many countries. That rather interferes with my enjoyment.

So, if you read it with your child, perhaps pair it with a lesson on invasive/native species! What NATIVE species would your child plant to beautify the world? Also, of course, we can still brainstorm other ways to make the world more beautiful...
Karen
Nov 02, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom
Such a wonderful book about doing something to make the world more beautiful. Bought this book at Carole Joy Seid conference Jan 2011 and we have read it many times. Love this one!..3/27/15

Read again and still a favorite..krb 3/11/16

Ellie read for her November Pizza Hut Reading Challenge..krb 11/2/16
K.S.R.
Oct 12, 2007 K.S.R. rated it it was amazing
Even as a parent reading this over and over to my children while we lived in Vermont, I was so effected by the notion that the seeds we sow are enjoyed by others far beyond our ability to comprehend, that I planted lupine seeds in our garden just to remember that small truth. Lupines don't grow here in Utah like they do back East. I miss the East coast. Sniff.
cat
Aug 20, 2007 cat rated it it was amazing
i will always remember the first time i read this and i thought "i also want a house by the sea, and adventures, and to do something useful and good" and i am almost, kinda, sorta there :) such a good book for children and adults and pretty much everyone...
midnightfaerie
Jun 07, 2016 midnightfaerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, classics
Beautiful story about our environment and responsibility for it. Great for encouraging young ones.
Shannan
Loved this book! I love lupines just as much as Miss Rumphius. Her sense of adventure and desire to make the world a better place shines through this story. Sharing this book with students can inspire them to make the world a better place as they gain an understanding of writing attributes including voice and sentence fluency.
Ike
Oct 16, 2016 Ike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably my favorite book so far that I've read to my daughter! Great story, great illustrations, and I love the message!
Casandria
Sep 20, 2016 Casandria rated it really liked it
A beautiful book about loving the world around us and making it better.
Erin
Sep 29, 2008 Erin rated it liked it
Shelves: lis565
Category: Picture Book, American Book Award Winner
Audience: Ages 4-8
Brief Description: Miss Rumphius travels and strives to make the world a better place right on her own doorstep.

The beginning of this story did not pull me in immeidately. It starts out fairly wordy and my initial thought was that this isn’t something that would intrigue a child. However, after the first couple of pages when Miss Rumphius begins to explore and travel the reader becomes more intrigued with the story. Additionally
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Mikejencostanzo
Oct 31, 2008 Mikejencostanzo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Alice Rumphius lived with her grandfather. She wanted to grow up to be just like him -- travel, live by the sea. He said she had to do one more thing -- "You must do something to make the world more beautiful." Throughout the course of the story, Alice grows up, travels, and moves by the sea. Still discouraged about her third life purpose, Miss Rumphius finally finds her own way to make the world more beautiful and to pass along the message of her grandfather.

This is a beautiful book. Miss Rumph
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Julie
As I've slowly gone back over the School Library Journal list of 100 best picture books, it's astounded me how many beautiful books were published that, growing up, I had little or no familiarity with, like Miss Rumphius, first published in 1982. The illustrations are so evocative of Maine that they are instantly recognizable, even if the reader has never traveled to New England. I especially liked the first few pictures of Alice's fishing village and her grandfather's art studio, as well as the ...more
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Before she was known as Miss Rumphius, Alice lived by the sea and spent time with her grandfather. She always wanted to travel and shared this with her grandfather. He encouraged her to do so but also challenged her to make the world a more beautiful place. At first, she did not know how she would accomplish this but she does. After Alice has grown up, traveled the world, and made the world more beautiful she takes on the same mentor role as her grandfather did for her and offers the same ...more
Matthew
Apr 25, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a feeling that this story had some personal connection to the author/illustrator. It's the story of a woman who goes on a great adventure and sees a lot of the world, makes many friends, and eventually finds a way to make the world a more beautiful place. It's a wonderful story. Would make a good read aloud. I especially liked the illustrations. It's the kind of book that makes you want to do an extra picture walk when you're through reading because you feel like you've missed something ...more
Judy
Jan 02, 2016 Judy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pic-books
There's so much about this book that I like: setting long term goals, doing something for the earth, depicting a strong single female, and showing some of the changes that take place over a life span, from childhood to old age. Of course, the spread of the lupines could mean that they became an invasive weed, but I like to think that Miss Rumphius used seeds that were native to the area. In fairness, I should add that I like this book better than the kids do.
Mary E R
Feb 05, 2011 Mary E R rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I loved the message of making the world a more beautiful place. The goal of aesthetics sometimes seems to take a back seat to productivity and profit. I think this is a valuable lesson for children. As a avid gardener, I also like the description of hope and waiting through the winter for the beauty of spring. Miss Rumphius sows seeds that help beauty to spread throughout the book and beyond.
Heather
Mar 19, 2009 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
Miss Rumphius is a book about a very cool lady. She does great stuff and brings beauty into the world. This is the kind of book that grownups buy and read and think is great but it's not really for kids. Or it's for a very certain type of kid...hmmm. I'll have to think on it. But the illustrations are top notch by Barbara Cooney, as is the story, but it's more of a lesson than a story.
Barbara
Feb 18, 2009 Barbara rated it it was amazing
I typically only rate the books I love, so most of my ratings on this site for pre-school/young readers will be 5-star reviews. Miss Rumphius is a fabulous book and all around great life lesson on how everyone can make the world a more beautiful place. I want to plant Lupines in my garden as a reminder!
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