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Miss Rumphius Hardcover – November 8, 1982
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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
Favorite childhood book, with a beautiful message. Barbara Cooney's illustrations are so "Maine" and gorgeous. Read morePublished 16 days ago by hensandhives
This is a favorite of mine and I have read it to my children and grandchildren. Miss Rumphius has inspired all of us and we often buy this book as a gift for friends who also love... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Karel R. Amaranth
Lovely! A book about nature, beauty, adventure, art, being true to yourself, and making the world a better place.Published 26 days ago by Matt D.
One of my favorite children's books. Every time I see a lupine I think of Miss Rumphius.Published 1 month ago by Knitty
I love reading this to my kids. They love it but I think I enjoy it more.Published 1 month ago by MER