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 ·  20,236 Ratings  ·  714 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.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 10, 2009 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.

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 (
Dec 23, 2016 Eve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, read-2016
 photo IMG_0791_zpsu4l83n7q.jpg

"You must do something to make the world more beautiful..."

What a beautifully empowering book with gorgeous illustrations! Would love to have them framed and in my study to cheer me up daily.
Dec 23, 2008 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!
Lisa Vegan
Jun 30, 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
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
Feb 11, 2017 Joyce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Wonderful. Simple. Classic. Gorgeous illustrations. Ideal for a bedtime story. Pitch perfect.
This is the story of Alice Rumphius, who when she was a girl told her grandfather that when she grows up she wants to go to faraway places, and when she grows old she will live beside the sea. Her grandfather agrees, but adds "You must do something to make the world more beautiful". Alice's life story of going to faraway places, living by the sea when she's old and beautifying the world is told to us by her great niece toward the end of Alice's life. BEAUTIFULLY illustrated by the author, I know ...more
Dec 29, 2016 Ij rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful story and beautiful illustrations.
Feb 01, 2017 Alexandra rated it really liked it
if you ever check your recommendations on goodreads, you will know that sometimes the most random books will come up. miss rumphius is one of those books that came up for me and i decided to check and see if my library had it and was pleased to find out it did.

this is a very quick read; a picture book published in 1982 with simple and beautiful illustrations. it's about a woman named miss rumphius who is very old but didn't start out that way. her great niece knows that for sure because miss ru
Feb 20, 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.
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.
Jessica Prescott
Nov 22, 2016 Jessica Prescott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If my mom had a nickel for every time she read this story to me . . . she'd be a millionaire.

That's how much I loved it.

I still think it's one of the greatest books ever written, and I wouldn't be the same person I am today without it.
Jan 12, 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.
Jacqueline Brown
Feb 23, 2017 Jacqueline Brown rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful story!
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.
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
Jul 15, 2013 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.
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...
Mar 27, 2015 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
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.
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.
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
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
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 challe ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 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
  • The Rag Coat
  • The Quiltmaker's Gift
  • A New Coat for Anna
  • Ox-Cart Man (Picture Puffin)
  • A House Is a House for Me
  • The Bee Tree
  • When I Was Young in the Mountains (Reading rainbow book)
  • The Clown of God
  • The Raft
  • Wee Gillis
  • The Curious Garden
  • Linnea in Monet's Garden
  • Miss Twiggley's Tree
  • Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge

Share This Book