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Miss Rumphius

4.44 of 5 stars 4.44  ·  rating details  ·  16,067 ratings  ·  561 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 November 6th 1985 by Puffin Books (first published November 8th 1981)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Miriam
Feb 26, 2015 Miriam rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.

Dolly
Jan 25, 2009 Dolly rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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!
Lisa Vegan
Jul 07, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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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Anastasia
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
Rebekah
May 26, 2008 Rebekah rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
One of my all-time favorite children's books. Delightful to read aloud, as well.
Sarah
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 ex ...more
Brenda
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
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
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...
Karey
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
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...
Matthew
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 o ...more
Mikejencostanzo
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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Erin
Sep 29, 2008 Erin rated it 3 of 5 stars
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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Randie
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 challe ...more
Karen
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!
Anne
A lovely story about our call to make the world more beautiful.
Karen Beck
Now I want to go buy some Lupines!
Nicole Gustafson
This book surrounds the life of a little girl named Alice, she grows up with her Grandfather and finds joy in watching him “make the world a beautiful place”, and with these words when Alice grows older she becomes a librarian. She inspires people to read about faraway lands, but thinking of her Grandfather she is not satisfied with her life. She goes and travels the world, meeting different people from around the world, creating friendships that would last the test of life. However, when old ag ...more
Kathleen
I've lost count of how many times I've read this book. I was introduced to it when it was given to my daughter as a birthday present when she was a young child. Upon reading it to her for the first time, I fell in love with it. The book begins by introducing the main character (Alice Rumphius) as a child. From the first page, the beautiful illustrations provide images that capture the reader's imagination. The story takes place many years ago, and Alice has a close relationship with her grandfat ...more
Jonathan Jordan
This story never seemed to end and I enjoyed how it carried the reader form beginning to end. This story begins about a granddaughter who tells the story of her grandmother who became the lupine lady. Alice was a girl who lived by the sea and grandfather told her three things and that was to go to faraway places, live by the sea, and make the world more beautiful. So Alice grows up and travels the world and eventually lives by the sea and finally realized how she would make the world more beauti ...more
Linda
Miss Rumphius is definitely a favorite book of mine. It was read over and over again at my house. Alice's life begins (or rather the book begins)with her life in an ordinary world, but as the book continues Alice sets out to accomplish and make her world a better place. Alice is presented as an ordinary person, not real popular, not special in the public eye, but definitely one that ends up making a great big difference in the world around her. The journey Alice goes on to lead the reader into u ...more
Bryant Schumacher
“You must do something to make the world more beautiful.” Looking out at the sea, young Alice dreamed of traveling the world. She promised her grandfather to spread beauty where she could, and she did so many years later by scattering lupine seeds throughout her village. After much time passing, Miss Rumphius was no longer young Alice, but could still carry on making the world a more beautiful place through her grandchildren.

This children’s classic from Barbara Cooney has been celebrated over th
...more
Brittany
Nov 09, 2014 Brittany added it
Shelves: picture-books
"'You must do something to make the world more beautiful.'Little Alice hears those words from her grandfather as a little girl. After she grows up to travel the world and becomes Miss Rumphius, she returns to his home by the sea and fulfills his wish for her by scattering lupine seeds wherever she goes," (Davis, 2013).

Genre: Modern Literary Tale

The text notes that modern literary tales often are related to fairy tales or folklore, but have been written more recently and by "identifiable" author
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Rachael Mack
Miss Rumphius is a story of a girl and her desire to accomplish three things: live in a house near the sea, travel to faraway places and make the world a more beautiful place. These goals were put into place for Miss Rumphius by stories her grandfather told her as a child. As she grows, Miss Rumphius travels all around the world and gets to experience many things and eventually settles in a house by the sea. The only thing left to accomplish is making the world a more beautiful place. Miss Rump ...more
Katie Hanrahan
Travel across the world with the Lupine Lady in Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. Barbara Cooney wrote this story about her Great-aunt Alice. Growing up, Alice was intrigued by her grandfather's stories of traveling the world, living by the sea, and making the world a more beautiful place. She set out to live a life like his. She traveled to places far away, going on adventure after adventure until finally settling down by the sea because of back problems. She loved flowers and planted some aroun ...more
Jill
This is the second time I've read this book, but I was certain my children wouldn't have remembered the first time over a year or two ago.

I was wrong. They remembered it was about a librarian who travels. Nothing else about the story had stuck but that point did.

So we read it again. And again. And again. And we'll probably keep at it because we love it.

The illustrations are soft but not overly simplified. There are beautiful details and just the right touch of the era in which the story is based
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Kelly Borton
Miss Rumphius is a book with realistic settings and characters that readers can identify with. It is narrated by a niece about her Great Aunt Alice and her life. Alice is a small girl living with her grandfather and wants to fulfill her life by accomplishing three things; to travel the world, to retire by the sea, and to make the world a beautiful place. This third goal was a request of her grandfathers. Alice grows up and moves to the city, travels to far away places, and settles by the sea. Al ...more
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