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Miss Rumphius

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  24,044 ratings  ·  961 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 1982)
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Christine I have just discovered a children's book similar to Miss Rumphius, about nature and another determined lady. The Tree Lady (The True Story of How One …moreI have just discovered a children's book similar to Miss Rumphius, about nature and another determined lady. The Tree Lady (The True Story of How One a Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever). Written by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry. Wonderful! (less)

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Average rating 4.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  24,044 ratings  ·  961 reviews

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Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"We saw a shadow on your son's lungs," is what they told us. He was ten months old. We were frozen. What could the shadow be? It could be anything. There's a universe of possibilities about that shadow. It could be bad or it could be the end of the world.

It was his stomach, it turns out. He had a hiatal hernia: the hole for his esophagus was too big. His stomach, and most of his intestines, had slipped up around his lungs. All things considered, this is a fixable problem. Over the next year, he
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful concept, beautifully rendered.
I like this book. It tells the story of Great Aunt Alice known as the Lupine lady. She wanted to travel - very smart and she wanted to live by the sea. He father told her that was very well, but she also needed to do something to make the world a more beautiful place. Her father was amazing he craved wood statues to be the figureheads for ships or Indians outside cigar stores that were beautiful. He was a craftsman. Miss Rumphius sailed away and became a librarian. After returning home from her ...more
Feb 10, 2009 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 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 (
Katie  Hanna
Nov 22, 2016 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.
Dec 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Nicely illustrated story with a wonderful message. I have read this book many, many times and I've even gotten the book (along with a tshirt with one of the interior illustrations screened on it) as a Christmas present. It's one of my favorites.

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."

Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
 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.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this little gem by coincidence when a friend here reviewed it. I had never heard of the Lupine Lady (Hilda Hamlin) nor of the book before, but went on and did a little research.

Since I like trees and flowers immensely, I think it's a wonderful way of "beautifying the world". Often it's the little things that count so why not flower seeds?

Apparently, this is a well-known classic but just in case you have never heard of it (like me until last Friday), here's a little summary:
Miss Rumphius
Lisa Vegan
Jun 30, 2010 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
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful story and beautiful illustrations.
Mar 26, 2009 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!
La Coccinelle
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
Here's another 1980s picture book that I somehow missed when I was a kid. I hadn't heard of Miss Rumphius before, but the cover was intriguing.

This is a gentle little story about a girl who grows up with the aim of doing three things: go to faraway places, live beside the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful. The illustrations clearly show the progression of time, probably from the Victorian era to the "present" day (keep in mind that this was published in 1981). It's refreshin
Endearing timeless classic. I love this artful treasure!! Shared with my children when they were young, now it's time to pass on the treasure of adventure, generosity, beauty, and Lupines to my grandchildren.

Miss Rumphius is a delightful character, an auntie mentor for all the world's children - young and old - to encourage us all to follow our dreams, be daring and bold, travel and explore. Then when our exploring is done, if one should choose, find a suitable place to set roots and grow; perha
Jul 10, 2008 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
Mar 04, 2012 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
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
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I adore this sweet little book. It’s one I use every year to introduce personal narratives. We discuss the older people in our lives and how they’ve perhaps made the the world a more beautiful place, then we consider how each of us could make the world more beautiful, too. The resulting journal entries are usually some of my favorites of the school year.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Wonderful. Simple. Classic. Gorgeous illustrations. Ideal for a bedtime story. Pitch perfect.
Feb 01, 2017 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
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.
Annie ⚜️
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, gentle illustrations with lots to talk about and a beautiful message. What will you do to make the world more beautiful? My son doesn't know yet either. It we had fun discussing it. Also, I loved the message of loving travel and exploring. Well done. I've seen this title in many book lists and it did not disappoint. I already put in a request for a cottage by the sea just like hers and we'll definitely be planting lupines.
Feb 20, 2008 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.
May 23, 2012 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 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.
Oct 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've always loved books and even as an adult I continue to love children's books. Sometimes when I'm feeling blue re-reading them and enjoying the pictures is a particular peaceful comfort for me. Not only do I love the wonderful illustrations in this one, I think the message is profound.
"Do something to make the world more beautiful."
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books, 2012
One of my all-time favorite children's books. Delightful to read aloud, as well.
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Barbara Cooney's Artwork
Growing up, Alice Rumphius dreamt of seeing the world, and then settling down in a little house by the sea. Confiding in her beloved grandfather - an artist like herself - Alice is told that she must do one additional thing: she must make the world a more beautiful place. Many years later, having lived her dreams, Alice sets out to fulfill her promise to her grandfather. But what can she do to make the world more beautiful...?

This was a sweet story - and the illustrations were simply gorgeous! -
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 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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Children's books featuring bold and brave girls are both becoming easier for parents to find, and also cover a large range of ...
120 likes · 39 comments
“You must do something to make the world more beautiful.” 5 likes
“When I grow up, I too will go to faraway places, and when I grow old, I too will live beside the sea.” 4 likes
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