Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Miss Rumphius” as Want to Read:
Miss Rumphius
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Miss Rumphius

4.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  18,764 Ratings  ·  631 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 1985 by Puffin Books (first published November 8th 1981)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgAnimalia by Graeme BaseThe Mitten by Jan BrettStellaluna by Janell CannonThe Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base
Children's Picture Books With Beautiful illustrations
8th out of 1,216 books — 1,061 voters
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Best Children's Books
179th out of 3,562 books — 5,304 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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.

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
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!
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
To check out all my reviews:

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
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.
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.
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.
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 ex ...more
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
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
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.
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...
Oct 12, 2007 Karey 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.
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...
Mar 11, 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
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 o ...more
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
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
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 challe ...more
Jun 21, 2016 Meganvansipe rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best children's picture books of all time, in my opinion!! Beautiful story, stunning artwork, PERFECT message.
Feb 15, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing
Yes this is a picture book. I am allowed to like and read picture books. :D
Jun 03, 2015 Anne rated it it was amazing
A lovely story about our call to make the world more beautiful.
Karen Beck
Mar 14, 2015 Karen Beck rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
Now I want to go buy some Lupines!
Jun 09, 2016 Danette rated it really liked it
Read with Naomi and Julia.
Dec 14, 2015 Cassie rated it it was amazing
Title: Miss Rumphius
Author: Barbara Cooney
Genre: Biography
Theme(s): Travel, doing good for the world, nature, aging
Opening line/sentence: The Lupine Lady lives in a small house overlooking the sea.
Brief Book summary: Alice, otherwise known as the Lupine Lady, lives in a house by the sea in Maine. She spent her youth traveling and doing good deeds, but now she spends her days scattering Lupine seeds to make the world beautiful.
Professional Review 1: "As a child, Miss Rumphius dreams of traveling
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
Apr 09, 2015 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 29, 2015 Jonathan Jordan rated it it was amazing
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
MCC Children's Li...: Miss Rumphius - Challice 1 1 Apr 04, 2012 07:39PM  
Book Club/Troubles: Miss Rumphius 2 5 Oct 02, 2011 09:54AM  
  • Roxaboxen
  • One Morning in Maine
  • The Gardener
  • Grandfather Twilight
  • When I Was Young in the Mountains
  • A New Coat for Anna
  • Ox-Cart Man
  • The Quiltmaker's Gift
  • The Rag Coat
  • The Seven Silly Eaters
  • Emily
  • Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
  • Miss Twiggley's Tree
  • Brave Irene (Sunburst Books)
  • Story of Little Babaji
  • The Keeping Quilt
  • How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
  • Dandelions

Share This Book