Alice (or Miss Rumphius) wants to do two things when she grows up: go to faraway places and live beside the sea. Her grandfather adds one more: she “must do something to make the world more beautiful.” She agrees, not knowing what that could be.
She accomplishes both the first two but is puzzled by the last one. Then she has an idea. She decides to plant lupines all along her town to make her town more beautiful. Now known as the Lupine Lady, she tells her niece the same thing her grandfather told her. Her niece agrees but is unsure as well what that may be.
I like this book because it emphasizes doing things for others and the outside world as part of living. Also, it shows how it’s okay not to know what that “thing to make the world more beautiful” may be. Miss Rumphius comes across the idea one day as she sees a patch of lupines and wants to see more. It shows how if you look around for an opportunity, it will present itself and you don’t have to strive and push to find such a thing. I further like how the message is passed on from one generation to the next–a great reminder of how the world is improved.
Miss Rumphius is also retired when she discovers how to make the world more beautiful. It is simple and easy. A great message that we can always do something no matter our age, circumstances, or difficulty level. Also, it is the little things that can make a big difference.
Miss Rumphius is now known as the Lupine Lady by the neighborhood children and she passes her days telling stories and telling others to “do something to make the world more beautiful.”
Miss Rumphius is written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney.