By: Barbara Cooney (including illustrations)
Genre: Children's Literature
Only a book can taste like apple pie and yet smell like the sea. Miss Rumphius begins her life in a sea town in 1900s America. There you learn that she is a doer by nature, and her grandfather doesn't discourage it. When she tells him of her dream to travel the world and then live by the sea, he tells her that she must do one more thing: make the world more beautiful.
Miss Rumphius grows up, lives freely, and pursues happiness. She goes all over the place, and makes a lot of friends. Then she settles down by the sea. Now she has to figure out how to make the world more beautiful. She sees this as tough, since the world is pretty cool already.
The vivid illustrations help you imagine the many places she visits, the people she meets, and the decades she lives through, not to mention the overall mood of the storybook. It is definately worth a look and a read for children and adults alike.
Not only is this book worth an award, I find it particularly fitting that it won the American Book Award. It is a very fundamentally American sort of book, drawing from the old values of taking action, doing whatever you can to fulfill yourself, but still being an all-around nice person. The illustrations constantly establish Miss Rumphius as an American gal in the midst of various cultures. Not to mention a very nice woman.
After watching Miss Rumphius live out her life, the reader is encouraged to go and live out theirs. If she did it, why can't I? Thus, the story ends cyclically, with Miss Rumphius hearing children's dreams, and giving her grandfather's advice.
I advise you to read this encouraging, adventurous sort of storybook. It will nourish your heart.
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