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Miss Rumphius Paperback – November 6, 1985
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Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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Top Customer Reviews
Almost on cue, we read this book a week later, and it answered the question perfectly. This is the story of a woman named Miss Rumphuis. As a child, she sat on her grandfather's knee and posed the very question as my daughter. His answer was one of the most simple, beautiful, and meaningful that I've ever read. I can't imagine anyone in this world arguing against it, no matter what religion (or non-religion), political persuasion, or culture.
The answer provides the impetus as to how Miss Rumphuis led the rest of her life. It seems as if nearly every reviewer has already given the entire plot, so it's no surprise that her grandfather's answer to why we are here is to simply make the world a more beautiful place. When my daughter heard that, her reply was, "Mommy, you've already made the world a more beautiful place." When I asked how, she replied, "By having me!" I couldn't begin to argue against such wisdom from one of God's small miracles.
This book may appear to be nothing more than a lovely illustrated child's book containing a heartfelt tale. Without a doubt, the illustrations are rich; Ms. Cooney is an extremely talented woman. However, I also believe its message (which is never, ever preachy) is extremely powerful. As such, it is my favorite children's book, and I think every child (and adult) on this earth should read it.
In this book, you watch a little girl named Alice grow into an old, old woman, a retired librarian, named Miss Rumphius. Her life is filled with exciting adventures, but as she grows older, none of it feels like enough to her. She keeps recalling some advice her grandfather gave her when she was a child. He told her that in order to live a good life, she had to "do something to make the world more beautiful." But even as an old woman, she canÕt figure out what to do. Finally, realizing the joy sheÕs always gotten from flowers, especially lupines, she decides to share that joy with others by scattering lupine seeds everywhere she goes. She completely transforms the rocky landscape around her home. In the end, she tells her story to her young niece, who wonders how SHE will make the world more beautiful. And so the cycle continues.
My daughter, who is six, has talked about this book several times, and told me she hasnÕt yet figured out how she is going to make the world more beautiful. But the fact that she is thinking about it at such a young age makes me proud, and very happy to have found this lovely book to share with her.
Teacher Notes: This book would be excellent to read if you were doing a unit on plants or the earth. Even though this book is fiction, realistic things happen like the wind and birds scattering flower seeds. Kindergarten and first grade would enjoy having this book read aloud to them. Second and third graders could read it on their own.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my favorite children's books. Every time I see a lupine I think of Miss Rumphius.Published 2 days ago by Knitty
I love reading this to my kids. They love it but I think I enjoy it more.Published 5 days ago by MER
A wonderful story and lovely illustrations. Every parent should read this to their child. I have given many copies as gifts to children & adults. Read morePublished 20 days ago by John J. Burgardt
This book bringsjoy to my heart and tears to my eyes every time I read it. It is my favorite gift to children
because it reminds us that each of us can do at least one... Read more
My kids (now 19 and 21) and I spent some of our favorite moments reading children's books, and we have a very fine collection. Miss Rumphius remains one of our all-time favorites. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Bmore