As a children’s librarian, it’s probably no surprise to my friends and family that I like to give picture books as presents when babies are born. I always tried to pick a few of my best loved classics as well as some modern favorites, and recently a pattern among the modern titles has begun to emerge -- I think I’ve brought Andrea Beaty’s 2013 book Rosie Revere, Engineer to the last three baby showers in a row that I’ve been to. But in my defense, this book has absolutely everything I love in a picture book. Bold, eye-catching illustrations? Check. Clever and irreverent writing? Check. An inspiring, stereotype-defying message? Check plus.
Rosie Revere, Engineer is the story of a young girl whose love of all things tinkering, inventing, and engineering is hindered by her fear of failure. She dreams of building an airplane, but what if it doesn’t fly? What if it’s true that girls are no good at inventing? What if absolutely everything goes wrong? Luckily for Rosie, her great great aunt Rose (recognizable as an grown up version of Rosie the Riveter) is also an engineer who spent time building airplanes during World War II, and she helps bolster Rosie’s confidence and remind her that the only failure is not trying. Together, they craft Rosie’s first attempt at an airplane.
I have to add in my favorite passage, which takes place right after Rosie’s first attempt only hovers for a moment before crashing, because it encapsulates the spirit of the book so well:
It crashed. That is true.
But first it did just what it needed to do.
Before it crashed, Rosie…
Your brilliant first flop was a raging success!
Come on, let’s get busy and on to the next!
Tell me that’s not an awesome message for any young reader!