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Miss Rumphius

post written by Emma Filbrun

Miss Rumphius by Barbara CooneyTitle: Miss Rumphius
Author: Barbara Cooney
Major Themes: Beauty, Flowers
Synopsis: Miss Rumphius has fulfilled her dreams of traveling the world, but what can she do to make the world a more beautiful place, as her grandfather told her to do?

I love Miss Rumphius. This is a delightful picture book about how one lady made the world a more beautiful place. As a little girl, she would often tell her grandfather about the things she wanted to do when she grew up. He always told her there was one more thing she needed to do, which was to make the world more beautiful. She couldn’t imagine what that one thing could be, but finally she found something.

Besides the lovely story, the pictures in this book are beautiful. They are slightly stylized, but very beautiful paintings. There are pictures of Alice growing up in a city by the sea, and working in a big city library as Miss Rumphius, and of the places she went around the world when she started traveling. At the end, she hands the challenge on to her great-grand niece—you need to find a way to make the world more beautiful.

No warnings!

Age Levels:

Read Aloud—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 5 – 6, 7 – 9


Links to buy Miss Rumphius:


Paperback | Hardcover | Audio CD


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  1. January 25, 2016

    I enjoyed this book review. And I agree very much with the sentiment expressed in it. And it’s something that I have subscribed to for a long time.

    I wonder, can you imagine a world, where every day, every person lived in a way that made the world more beautiful? If each person planted one flower, what would the world be like? Imagine if every decision that we made was constructed only after considering the question “Will my decision add something beautiful to somebody’s life, or take away from it?” Whether in labour or in rest, we add or take away from the world. Every decision takes us closer to Christ, or further away. Closer to perfection, or not.

    Imagine then, when we spent time relaxing, if we were resolved that even by relaxing, we could make the world more beautiful. Instead of just relaxing and then going home, perhaps when we went to the beach, we could place one piece of litter in the rubbish bin, spare a smile for a stranger, bind a broken heart, speak the truth, in love, to some passer-by, in season or out of season.

    Perhaps, in a moment of calm or solitude, we could even just add to the beauty of our own mind, by doing what Scripture tells us to do: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, DWELL ON THESE THINGS. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, PRACTICE THESE THINGS, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8. Such peace is beyond understanding.

    What if each conversation that we had was filled with beauty? Selfless love, one for another, filled with the Holy Spirit, and all things being ‘seasoned with Love’, so that never a harsh word was spoken, and Divine Love was projected; sovereign Grace always taking over.

    Sing them over again to me,
    wonderful words of life;
    let me more of their beauty see,
    wonderful words of life;
    Words of life and beauty
    teach me faith and duty.
    Beautiful words, wonderful words,
    wonderful words of life.

    And what if our every action and reaction was beautiful? What if we had mind of Christ in all things? Imagine if we were always Christ-filled living epistles, known and read of all men? A walking, talking love letter to the world, expressing the Divine Truth and GRACE of God’s Word, that “Whilst we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly!” Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”

    Imagine how divine life would be, if we could see the beauty of every shade of green, every tone of blue… to enjoy the texture of every leaf and every twig, every stone, the clarity of every rain drop, and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation?

    Heaven above is softer blue,
    Earth around is sweeter green;
    Something lives in EVERY hue
    That Christless eyes have NEVER seen:
    Birds with gladder songs o’erflow,
    Flow’rs with deeper beauties shine,
    Since I know, as now I know,
    I am His, and He is mine. (AMEN!)

    Yes, there is truth in all of these things – that we can have it all and be it all, only if He is our All in All. I love that. He has made all things beautiful in his time.

    Ecclesiastes 3:14
    I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

    Psalm 45:1-5
    My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

    Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

    Take time to comprehend the beauty that is in Christ, and to express it, if so be that He dwells in you. Enjoy your day. And night.

    • January 25, 2016

      Very good thoughts. Thank you for commenting.

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