Monday, May 20, 2019

Rosie Revere, Engineer - Andrea Beaty & David Roberts (Illus.)

Summary:  This is the story of Rosie Revere, who dreamed of becoming a great engineer.  Where some people see rubbish, Rosie Revere sees inspiration.  Alone in her room at night, shy Rosie constructs great inventions from odds and ends.  Hot dog dispensers, helium pants, python-repelling cheese hats:  Rosie's gizmos would astound -- if she ever let anyone see them. Afraid of failure, she hides sthem away under her bed.  Until a fateful visit from her great-great-aunt Rose, who shows her that a first flop isn't something to fear -- it's something to celebrate. 

Andrea Beaty and David Roberts, the author-illustrator team behind the classic pictures books Iggy Peck, Architect and Ada Twist, Scientist have whipped up another stunning, witty invention that honors pursuing one's passions -- with persistence. 

(Summary from book - Image from

My Review:   I found Rosie Revere, Engineer at the store the other day and, after a quick read- through, it went straight into the cart.  I didn't try to find it elsewhere for less or check if it was available at the local library.  I wanted this one for my permanent collection ASAP. You see, I'm a complete sucker for children's picture books that empower and encourage kids (especially girls, since I have four of 'em) to reach their potential and Rosie Revere, Engineer completely fits the bill.  Here's why...

Rosie Revere loves to make gadgets and gizmos, but when someone laughs at one of her creations she becomes embarrassed and stops sharing her ideas with others.  She tries to suppress her creative talents until her Great-Great-Aunt Rose inspires her to make something new.  When her next invention succeeds briefly then fails spectacularly, Rosie is ready to throw in the towel until her aunt convinces her that failure is just another step on the pathway to success 

Rosie Revere is a a thoroughly relatable character for those young and old.  It's likely we've all struggled with failure and being worried about what others might think of our ideas and efforts.  And we all need someone in our lives who will encourage us to develop our talents and keep trying.  I loved how Rosie's character evolved over the course of the book, from young and self-confident, to slightly older and shy, to hopeful, frustrated, and finally determined.  I appreciated that the author took Rosie through all those feelings, because I think it will allow more children to identify with the story no matter where they are in their emotional development.   

Aunt Rose's character is based off of "Rosie the Riveter," a fictional character whose poster and slogan "We Can Do It!"(see right) was created to inspire women in World War II to tackle tough jobs in a typically male-dominated industry.  While Aunt Rose's history is given only a few lines attention, one of the book's illustrations is dedicated to some of the women who have broken barriers in the aviation industry.  It wasn't part of the actual text but we stopped and talked about the women anyway and their contributions to history. 

As a little sneak peek, here are some of my favorite lines from the book:

  • But questions are tricky, and some hold on tight and this one kept Rosie awake through the night.  (I just loved the imagery there...of clingy questions that won't let us sleep. Been there!)
  • "I failed," said dear Rosie.  "It's just made of trash.  Didn't you see it?  The cheese-copter crashed." "Yes!" said her great aunt."  It crashed.  That is true." But first it did just what it needed to do.  Before it crashed Rosie...before flew! Your brilliant first flop was a raging success!  Come on, let's get busy and on to the next!"
  • Life might have its failures, but this was not it.  The only true failure can come if you quit.

Overall, it's easy to love a book with a bottom line that says (in far more eloquent prose than my own): Embrace our own talents and strengths.  Keep trying.  Don't quit.  It's okay to try new things.  Be proud of who you are.  You can do it!!

You just can't go wrong with a book like Rosie Revere, Engineer.  I look forward to tracking down other books by the same author-illustrator team.
My Rating:  5 Stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  I've got nothing.  Unless your offended by helium pants or snake-repellent hats.

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