I first read this book when our copy came in at the library, as I usually read all the new picture books, but this book stood out in my mind. Months later I still remembered and re-read it to blog about for this class. It was actually one of the first books I thought of when I read about this assignment for class. This is an adorable book that everyone should read–boys, girls, parents, teachers, librarians–everyone.
Rosie Rever, Engineer centers around a shy, blonde second girl named Rosie who creates doohickeys and thingabobs from things found in the trash and knick knacks in secret. No one knows about any of Rosie’s project, but it quickly becomes clear that wasn’t always the case. Once upon a time, Rosie proudly displayed all her projects and creations to family members and friends, but that all changed when she showed a new creation to her favorite relative, Uncle Fred. The zookeeper, Uncle Fred, laughs and laughs at the hat she made him. He laughs so hard that he wheezes and tears run out of his eyes. After that, Rosie hides her creations. It isn’t until her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and expresses her dream to fly that Rosie begins work on her largest creations yet: a contraption that Aunt Rose can fly in. Yet, Rosie flies in the machine before showing her aunt because she doesn’t want to be laughed at or have anyone see her fail. But Aunt Rose sees Rosie’s flying and subsequent crash. Aunt Rose laughs, and Rosie feels more humiliated than ever, but Aunt Rose quickly explains. Aunt Rose doesn’t see Rosie’s failure as a failure at all. Before she crashed, her invention did exactly what it supposed to do: Rosie flew. Not that the first failure is done, Rosie can try again and achieve her dream. Together, they work on the machine and Rosie begins sharing her creations with all the second grade, who all join in making things.
The book is influenced greatly by Rosie the Riveter, the fictional iconic figure of WWII with the slogan “We Can Do It!” which actually appears on the seat of Rosie’s flying machine. Great-great Aunt Rose is actually dressed like Rosie the Riveter and Rosie herself wears a red bandana. Aunt Rose used to work on planes and there is a neat page that features different planes with information about the first women to fly each one. After the story is finished, the book includes a brief section on Rosie the Riveter and what she meant to women.
This book is so cute and important because it shows a girl interested in a topic that many girls aren’t interested in and even discouraged from joining: engineering. It accurately depicts the hesitations a girl might have about it, especially when a relative ridicules her for it. I love anything that shows gender in a non-typical gender role or interested in something stereotypically for the opposite gender. The connection to Rosie the Riveter makes this book even richer and provides plentiful opportunities for discussion.
Rosie Revere, Engineer can be used for many, many programs. It would be perfect for a program on careers, Women’s History month, family, success, what success means, and never giving up. It can also be paired with the Iggy Pop, Architect by the same author and illustrator, especially when doing a program on different careers. It’s also great for STEM programs for younger children, and I’m sure this corresponds somehow to the Common Core standards. I don’t know the ins and outs of Common Core, so I can’t give specifics, but I feel like this would fit.
Iggy Pop, Architect by Adrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Not All Princess Dress In Pink by Jane Yolen & Heidi Stemple, illustrated by Anne-Sophie Lanquetin
Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Invention by Women by Catherine Thimmesh, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Dangerously Ever After by Dashka Slater
Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen