Monday, February 22, 2016

A Good Case for Lupines: MISS RUMPHIUS by Barbara Cooney

Alice's grandfather traveled the world, and--when he grew old--lived by the sea.
Little Alice Rumphius wanted to do the same.
But her grandfather told her she had to do one more thing.

"You must do something to make the world more beautiful," said her grandfather.

"All right," said Alice. But she did not know what that could be.

The front cover of Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

The back cover reads, "Ages 3--8," but it's surely a misprint. "1--92" is more like it.

No matter how old we are, we keep dreaming of what we're going to be when we grow up.

It's no mere chance that it takes Alice Rumphius a lifetime to finally figure out what she can do to make the world more beautiful. By the time she accomplishes "the third, the most difficult thing of all," she's an old lady.

And even then, I wish to think, she keeps dreaming of beautiful tomorrows.

A detail of a page from Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

MISS RUMPHIUS, a wonder of a book for young (at heart) readers by Barbara Cooney.

"I believe that children in this country need a more robust literary diet than they are getting...It does not hurt them to read about good and evil, love and hate, life and death. Nor do I think they should read only about things that they understand...a man's reach should exceed his grasp. So should a child's. For myself, I will never talk down to--or draw down to--children."
--Barbara Cooney, artist/illustrator, author

Live for the Love of it,
Sasha A. Palmer (aka Happy)

P.S. Read about the extraordinary life of Georg Eberhard Rumphius, 17th century German-born botanist who became the inspiration for "The Lupine Lady."

P.P.S. Guess what I'm adding to my garden?


  1. oh, this book is calling me. It wants to live on my bedside desk:) Can't wait to find it. thank-you for the introduction. I LOVE lupines. They re-seed and multiply so they are easy to keep once the get a good foothold in the garden. The key is not to dead-head too soon if you want them to re-seed.

    1. Yes, it called me too, Janet :-)

      I cannot wait to sow lupines! Even if they don't flower the first year. And, who knows, maybe they will?

      Thank you for the tip about dead-heading; I want lupines to reseed for sure! The more lupines the better.

  2. A lovely post. I get a new book for my grand-daughter every week - though they are used from the Library book store. I'll keep an eye out for this one ;)

    1. Your granddaughter is very lucky :)
      You might want to keep an eye out for two copies -- I bet you'll want one for yourself. I know I did!
      Thank you for stopping by, Jules.

  3. This book also reminds me of another book that I read about a girl planting another type of flowers... bulbs I think.
    Just from your description it has a very Johnny Apple seed quality. But I'm guessing this story may take place way before Johnny Appleseed was born.

    Even in our town there is an area called Blossom Hill that was at one point an Apple orchard which might have other trees. When the man who owned the land sold it for housing one of the conditions was to leave some of the fruit trees. And I read an article which said a few of those older trees still exist. But then in the states our towns being old at 200 or 250 year isn't quite the same as some areas in Europe.

    Sometimes I also like to find books that don't have words so the child can make up their own stories like this one I found last week. Up and Up by Shirley Hughes is the copy I have in paper back and is only in two tones not colors.

    Another very few word book I have is 'Tuesday'

    1. That was my immediate association, too -- Johnny Apple Seed. I think he and the Lupine Lady would have made a nice couple :) On the other hand, maybe they were called to be single.

      Blossom Hill -- such a lovely name. Hope you get a chance to see those old apple trees.

      Thank you for the tips about the books, Jules.

      Have a great Sunday.