Alice made a promise to make the world a more beautiful place, then a seed of an idea is planted and blossoms into a beautiful plan.
Alice made a promise to make the world a more beautiful place, then a seed of an idea is planted and blossoms into a beautiful plan. This beloved classic and celebration of nature—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 real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went. Miss Rumphius received the American Book Award in the year of publication.
The illustrations have been reoriginated, going back to the original art to ensure state-of-the-art reproduction of Cooney’s exquisite artwork. The art for Miss Rumphius has a permanent home in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
About the Author
Barbara Cooney and her twin brother were born on August 6, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York to Russell Schenck Cooney and Mae Evelyn Bossert. Because her father was a stockbroker, her family lived in suburbia, which Barbara disliked. Cooney attended a boarding school as a child. Never considering an art school and wanting a liberal arts education, she later attended Smith College where she studied art history and received her degree in 1938, a decision she was later to regret. Realizing that she needed to make a living at something, she decided that illustrating books was a career as good as any.
She quickly received assignments after getting a portfolio together and schlepping it around to publishers, but, unfortunately, World War II postponed her new career for a bit. Cooney was illustrating several books a year and even wrote one herself now and then. In fact, it was for her adaptation of Chaucer’s The Nun Priest’s Tale that she won the prestigious Caldecott Medal in 1959.
Cooney died on 14 March, 2000 at the age of 83. In the later part of her career Cooney focused on writing and illustrating more books of her own, and these were equally well–received. Miss Rumphius, for which the author won both the American Book Award and a New York Times citation in 1982, was inspired by the true story of a woman who traveled the world collecting flower seeds and came home at last to make something beautiful. Her most recent books include Hattie and the Wild Waves.
A Few Reviews:
“This is my absolute favorite book from childhood. I think it honestly may have influenced my adult life- I spent almost 10 years abroad, and I also thought- “ok, I have traveled the world, I have lived by the sea, now I just have to do something to make the world a more beautiful place.” I have given this book as a gift to many children, most recently my goddaughter. I hope it will have the same effect on her as it did on me. Miss Rumphius is a beautiful woman!”
“Wow; this book is really something special! True, it might make you cry, but for all the right reasons. It causes the reader to pause and think about what really matters in life. The artwork is beautiful, the story unique. I am so glad to share this with my children. Miss Rumphius details an adventure filled life, all the while seeking to make the world a more beautiful place, by doing something all her own. How will she accomplish this task? The reader must find out, because I’m not going to spoil it for you! 🙂 I encourage anyone to read this book!”