by Barbara Cooney (author and illustrator)
When she was a child, Great-aunt Alice Rumphius resolved that when she grew up she travel to exotic places, live by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful. Upon the long ago advice of her Grandfather, she plants lupines, but the inspiration to do so does not come easily. She does finally make the world more beautiful for others to enjoy, and achieves her life goals.
This story is wonderful and provides a lesson for children to live life as a positive influence to others. After enjoying the story, have the children consider how they could make the world a more beautiful or better place.
We have wild lupines in Northern Minnesota, and have collected the dried flowers on our own land to “plant” seeds by tossing the seeds where we wanted them to grow. The pods are difficult to pop open in the fall. I found out accidentally that if you put them in a plastic bag tied shut (or zip lock bag), and leave them during the winter, when you open the bag in the spring the seeds have all popped out. I found that out when I took the dried seed pods to school and saved them until our plant unit in the spring.
These seeds take about 15 to 75 days to germinate and require much attention at first. Later, the plants are easier to take care of, but watch that they are not planted near watering systems or septic systems as the root system is very long and strong.
Free Printable for Miss Rumphius
PDF: writing and coloring reading response to Miss Rumphius
First, students can color flowers and answer the question, “How did Miss Rumphis make the world a more beautiful place?”
Next, students are asked to dream about how they might like to make the world a more beautiful place if they could.
Finally, students ponder and think about how they might help the world when they grow up.
Happy reading and planting, Carolyn