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Miss Rumphius
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Miss Rumphius

4.44 of 5 stars 4.44  ·  rating details  ·  13,682 ratings  ·  483 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
Paperback, 32 pages
Published November 6th 1985 by Puffin (first published November 8th 1981)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
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
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.
Feb 10, 2009 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-bok age group may be too restless for the rather passive account.
One of my all-time favorite children's books. Delightful to read aloud, as well.
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
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
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.
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...
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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...
Nancy (Colorado)
Great for a lesson on visualization! Wonderful imagery and description!
Mary E R
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.
Rosa Cline
This started out kind of slow as I read it to my 2 year old granddaughter. But the idea is a wonderful one... It did pick up and expand on the author's idea.

Starts out with a young girl helping her Grandpa in his wood shop and she tells him what she wants to do in life and he tells her that she can do all that but she also needs to do one thing and that is leave the world a more prettier place. She grows up and does all the traveling she wanted to do and made friends all over the world. She com
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.
Miss Rumphius is a book about a woman named Alice Rumphius who traveled the world and made it a more beautiful place. When she was young her grandfather told her stories of his travels and made figureheads for ships. She wanted to travel the world like him and when she grew up she did exactly that. She went to the tropics, climbed mountains and went to the jungle and desert before hurting her back getting off a camel. After hurting herself she decided to settle down and find a home by the water. ...more
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!
I can't believe I haven't added this to my bookshelf yet - this is literally my favorite children's picture book ever. This book is the reason I want to grow up to be a librarian and eventually live by the sea.
I loved this story as a child and have read it many times to my daughter. Very beautiful and inspirational message that everyone should try to live by.
A new heroine! An aunt and a one time librarian and a gardener. All with an inspiring message.
Adorable story of the Lupine Lady and making the world a more beautiful place.
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