Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Miss Rumphius

Miss Rumphius is a famous book. Released in 1982 it won the 1983 American Book Award for Children's Books (sharing the award with William Stieg's Doctor De Soto). It has enjoyed an ongoing popularity, and love. It is still in print. Miss Rumphius placed 13th in the SLJ Top 100 Picture Books 2012. And yet I still didn't manage to hear of it until much more recently in Buzzfeed's list of 37 Children's Books that Changed Your Life. I'd read or heard of pretty much all of the other books and authors. I'd never heard of Miss Rumphius or Barbara Cooney. Online I went, and pretty soon Miss Rumphius was landing at my door, which is quite apt as it turns out.

Miss Rumphius is a gorgeous book and tells the story of Miss Alice Rumphius, an old, old lady when we first meet her. Of course she hasn't always been old, and she has lived a wonderful life. Growing up with her grandfather she painted the sky in his paintings and sits on his knee each night to hear his stories of faraway places. Soon Alice is making her own plans.

"When I grow up, I too will go to faraway places, and when I grow old, I too will live beside the sea."

But Alice's grandfather is wise and tells her that

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

An admirable aim. You don't need to wait to make your life more beautiful- grab a copy of Miss Rumphius and make it more beautiful now. And maybe we all should plant some lupins too. 

I think Miss Rumphius has been to the
South Island of New Zealand...


Anonymous said...

Hmm ... famous? My son was born in the US in early 1984, and then I had a daughter born in Australia in 1987, and I've never heard of this book. Why not do you think? And have I missed something really important? I do love your pics though, I must say.

Brona said...

Sadly I've never heard of this either, but it sounds like my kind of story!
I know what I'll be researching at work tomorrow :-)