A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Scott Westerfeld (Leviathan), Alice Low (The Witch Who Was Afraid of Witches), and Todd Strasser (Boot Camp).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Leo Lionni (1910-1999), Swimmy.
- Happy birthday Carnegie Hall. Originally called The Music Hall, the grand opening of this midtown Manhattan concert venue featured guest conductor Tchaikovsky, in 1891. Read Tchaikovsky Discovers America by Esther Kalman, illustrated by Laura Fernandez and Rick Jacobson.
- In 1925 an arrest warrant was served to John Scopes, for teaching evolution, a violation of Tennesseeâ€™s Butler Act. Read The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly and Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution by Steve Jenkins.
Starting tomorrow, we celebrate National Wildflower Week (May 6-12th), created by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, to â€śencourage the observations, cultivations and study of native wildflowers.â€ť Todayâ€™s book, Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, completely embodies the spirit of this week. In this story a spinster librarian travels around the world and eventually returns to a home by the sea. Wanting to make the world a more beautiful place, she decides to scatter lupine seeds wherever she goes.
Published in November of 1982, when Barbara Cooney lived in Damariscotta, Maine, Miss Rumphius was one of hundreds of books that Cooney, a two-time winner of the Caldecott Award, illustrated in her lifetime. By the time she worked on Miss Rumphius, she had over forty years of experience in childrenâ€™s book illustrations. An autobiographical picture book, Cooney drew on the life of her great grandfather, who painted pictures and allowed his young daughter, Cooneyâ€™s grandmother, to help. â€śI see that little girlâ€”painting away, making yards and yards of fluffy clouds and sunsets and storms with lightening and rainbows.â€ť Cooney also based the character of Alice Rumphius on an historical figure who traveled the world planting flower seeds. Probably even more important, Alice became what Cooney described as her â€śalter ego.â€ť She later mused, â€śPerhaps she had been that right from the start.â€ť
What makes Miss Rumphius memorable for many young readers, however, is the exquisite artwork, executed in the purples, pinks, and blues of the lupinesâ€”breathtaking landscapes marked by their beauty and soft color. With its positive and idealistic message of making the world a more beautiful place, this book has captivated both young readers and the parents and teachers who share the book with them. It reminds all of us that with just a little effort we can add beauty to our world.
If you are planting wildflower seeds, pick up a copy of Miss Rumphius, a great read-aloud for kindergarten through third grade, and share it with children and adult friendsâ€”both will love it. Not only does Alice Rumphius make the world a more beautiful place by scattering lupines in the story, but Barbara Cooney enhanced our visual world by giving us thisÂ breathtaking picture book that we can return to again and again.
Originally posted May 5, 2011. Updated for .