Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2013. Currently available.
Age level & genre: Picture book fiction with a fantastical twist
Face Value: The wacky illustrations hint at the slightly off-kilter world created by David Roberts. Rosie’s pride in her work is clear in her exuberant facial expression. I knew from the cover that this book was going to be a ton of fun.
Does it break the slate? Yes, there is no question about it: this book breaks the slate. Rosie learns to be confident in her inventive ideas and to never be afraid to fail, because failures are learning opportunities.
Who would we give it to? This book is just right for the girls who love building with Legos and constructing stuff with items out of the recycling bin.
Review: I found out about Rosie Revere, Engineer when my sister texted me a photo of the cover and told me that I needed to know about this book. My library copy arrived, and the tantalizing illustrations immediately drew me in.
Rosie is a clever girl with a penchant for building unique creations from found materials. She used to love giving her inventions away to those she loved…until the day when one of her uncles laughed at her invention. It didn’t quite work the way she intended, and the negative feedback sent Rosie reeling. Embarrassed by that failure and fearing the potential of other mistakes, Rosie now builds her machines and then hides them under the bed.
This is certainly an unfortunate situation. Rosie, like many young girls, has tons of great ideas that never get shared with the world because she is worried about looking dumb. For a young woman, a failed idea can be a stopping point, whereas for many young men it is only an obstacle along the journey. This cultural taboo against girls speaking up for themselves is one of the contributing factors to females being underrepresented in STEM fields, as well as the upper echelons of management. So I think it is extremely cool that a picture book is taking on this problem.
Rosie’s great-aunt Rose comes for a visit, and Rose encourages Rosie to bring her inventions out for others to see. Unfortunately, Rosie experiences yet another failure. Devastated, she prepares to once again go back to hiding her creations under the bed. Yet Rose is the kind of adult who knows how to mentor a child through experiential learning. Rose tells Rosie that failures are just another opportunity to learn. Sure, people may laugh, but you will grow stronger. And you will know what to do better next time.
I adored great-aunt Rose and the way she supported Rosie through her embarrassing failure. Rose is exactly the kind of slatebreaking mentor that young girls need. And Rosie’s learning process is a terrific story to share with inventive young people (girls and boys) who are too often discouraged from taking healthy risks.
Reviewed from a library copy.