Book: Rosie Revere, Engineer
Author: Andrea Beaty
Illustrator: David Roberts
Age Range: 4 and up
How on earth did I miss the publication of Rosie Revere, Engineer, a companion picture book to Andrea Beaty and David Roberts' Iggy Peck, Architect? I received Iggy Peck around the time my daughter was born, and I regret that I never reviewed it. But it is one of our favorites. We also adore Doctor Ted (reviewed here), and aspire to own the two sequels. So when I spotted Rosie Revere, Engineer in Books, Inc. last night, I snatched it down from the shelf, and purchased it, unread. I didn't need to read it to know that THIS was a book that I wanted for my daughter.
Rosie Revere is a classmate to young Iggy Peck (an architecture-obsessed boy who eventually uses his architecture skills to save his class, and win over his building-phobic teacher). Unlike Iggy, Rosie likes inventing objects; gadgets, gizmos, and machines. Rosie does all of her tinkering in secret, hiding her projects away under her bed, emotionally scarred by an uncle who laughed at one of her inventions years earlier. But when her great-great aunt Rose (an homage to the fictional Rosie the Riveter of WW II) comes for a visit, Rosie is inspired to try something bold.
The lesson of trying again if you don't succeed is overt:
"She handed a notebook to Rosie Revere,
who smiled at her aunt as it all became clear.
Life might have its failures, but this was not it.
The only true failure can come if you quit."
But I like how with only a bit of encouragement from a caring adult, Rosie figures out this lesson on her own, and then spreads it to her classroom. And I LOVE the more subtle message, that girls can be engineers, may even find engineering a calling.
I also like Andrea Beaty's bouncy, rhyming, non-singsongy text. Like this:
"But questions are tricky, and some hold on tight,
and this one kept Rosie awake through the night.
So when dawn approached and red streaks lit the sky,
young Rosie knew just how to make her aunt fly."
David Roberts' watercolor, pen and ink, and graph paper illustrations are perfect for this story. The second page spread shows Rosie, working away in her jammies, surrounded by hundreds or brightly colored gears and objects. A tinkerer could spend ages on this page alone. And adult readers will not miss the tiny image of Rosie the Riveter mixed in with all of the paraphernalia. The graph paper and some sections that include drawings of airplanes also remind me of the illustrations in Mini Grey's Egg Drop (reviewed here). There's a lovely spread that includes pencil drawings and hand-written notes about various achievements by women in aerospace. I also love the joy that jumps from the final page spread, in which Rosie and Iggy's classmates (a diverse collection overall) each celebrate their own inventions.
Rosie Revere, Engineer is a must-purchase for parents who would like their daughters to dream big dreams, and persevere in the face of adversity (and what parent doesn't?). I would expect this book to appeal to boys, too, of course, many of whom will relate to a love of gizmos and gadgets. I can't believe that I nearly missed this book. Score one for the face-out display at an independent bookstore. In addition to purchasing this for my daughter, I'm also sending a copy to an adult friend (a woman engineer) who I know will appreciate it. Highly recommended!
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (@abramskids)
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Source of Book: Bought it for my daughter for Christmas
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