Three cheers for Rosie Revere!

posted in: Andrea Beaty, David Roberts | 16

The last couple of weeks on the blog have really reminded me how books can take you everywhere and anywhere. From “pink” books, to the Holocaust, to environmental campaigning, I do love the journey my blog takes me on.

rosiefrontcoverToday’s roving brings us to contemplate engineering and what constitutes failure, with Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts, a follow up to this same team’s ingenious Iggy Peck, Architect.

Rosie dreams of being an engineer. She loves collecting rubbish and creating contraptions. But people laugh at her creations and her emerging confidence is soon crushed. When Great Great Aunt Rose tells young Rosie how she built aeroplanes during the war, Rosie is once again inspired. But will Rosie’s engineering work this time? What if her plans fail?

An upbeat rhyming tale about the value of trying and trying again, Rosie Revere, Engineer encourages readers to hold on to their passions, and to never give up, even if things don’t work out the first time. Great for encouraging a can-do approach to whatever life throws at you, Rosie’s tale also leads naturally into discussions about women’s roles during the Second World War, and women who have broken the mould in various fields, notably that of flight.

463px-We_Can_Do_It!Rosie is creative, thoughtful, passionate, full of a sense of fun, and with more than a nod to Rosie the Riveter, not least with her matching headscarf, and the slogan “We Can Do It” on her flying machine.

Roberts’ illustrations are a scrapheap challenge (junkyard ward) junkie’s dream come true. Littered with curious details to pore over (can you spot a Wild Thing, or follow the unwritten story of the baby bird?) the colours are bright and pen drawings clear. Often on expanses of white, Roberts’ work is vibrant, crisp and fresh, perfectly matching the confident and purposeful message at the heart of the book.

readingrosie

There is a decidedly American flavour to the text (some rhymes, I assume, work better with certain US accents than my UK one, and cheese spray may seem rather mind boggling to many on this side of the pond) so a little contextualisation might be handy, but my young engineers didn’t bat an eyelid at this. They were simply delighted by this Rosie and her take on life. Spunky, funky and full of fun and inspiration, three cheers for Rosie Revere!

To go alongside reading Rosie Revere, Engineer I set up a little after-school structural engineering project involving essential tools of the trade: tooth picks and sweets.

engineering5

The aim of the game was to see what we could build and how we could build it using just these two materials, plus some imagination, and a little bit of concentration…

engineering4

Space rockets and climbing frames soon rose from the kitchen table.

engineering3

A spider’s web of construction emerged, with lots of experimental investigation as to what made our feats of engineering stand strong.

engineering1

We also got to explore the roles of different materials, as we quickly discovered that most dolly mixtures aren’t very good for this type of project, whilst mini wine gums and gum drops are excellent. (If you want to go for just one, the wine gums are a better bet as they are less messy; the gum drops litter the kitchen table with sugar sprinkles, and also make fingers stickier).

engineering2

We all thoroughly enjoyed this engineering project, and M is very keen to try it again soon to model chemical compound structure (her idea!); different sweets for different elements? Definitely sounds fun to me.

Whilst designing, engineering and building we listened to some brilliant music:

  • I’m Gonna be an Engineer, written by Peggy Seeger, performed in this video by her half brother, Pete Seeger. Full lyrics (which are just fabulous) here.
  • Rosie The Riveter by The Four Vagabonds
  • Dave Rawlings Machine’s The Monkey and The Engineer


  • Other activities which would be great fun to get up to alongside reading Rosie Revere, Engineer include:

  • Junk Modelling! Indeed, Rosie Revere, Engineer cries out for you to rifle the recycling bin and get sticking and gluing and making. Here’s how we like to junk model!
  • Watching this classic car advert showing the domino effect, and invite the kids to try to set up something similar.
  • Tipping the lego all over the floor and seeing what you can build together. This lego website has lots of ideas, but we prefer to have this book open nearby.


  • Don’t miss the teacher’s guide to Rosie Revere either.

    What are you going to engineer today?

    Disclosure: I recieved a free reivew copy of Rosie Revere, Engineer from the publishers.

    16 Responses

    1. This book is definitely at the top of our ‘to do’ list.

      Working with engineers day in day out, and seeing the huge rise in female students moving into engineering, books like this are massively important and it looks brilliant (David Roberts illustrating it would’ve got my interest even if the subject wasn’t fab anyway!) Can’t wait to read it!
      Readitdaddy recently posted..Katie and the British Artists by James Mayhew (Orchard Books)

    2. yum. we have tried something similar with mini marshmallows but- WINE GUMS- inspirational 😉
      Polly recently posted..Silver Buttons

    3. Love the sound of the book, and the activity – H is looking over my shoulder saying “I want to do that!!!”
      Helen D recently posted..Lucy Ladybird

    4. Read It daddy, yes this is a great book for girls, but David Robert’s style means it is equally appealing to boys too. A great one for classrooms I think.

      Ah Polly. I don’t like marshmallows so would never have thought of them, but now I do know which colour wine gums are my favourite. More experiential science!

      Helen – at 24p for a pack of toothpicks and about 30p for small pack of wine gums this is a steal of an activity 🙂 Go for it!
      Zoe recently posted..Three cheers for Rosie Revere!

    5. I love the idea of getting creative with toothpicks and sweeties. Another great idea Zoe, thank you 🙂
      Catherine recently posted..Winnie’s Amazing Pumpkin by Valerie Thomas

    6. Always in awe of your blog posts Zoe! Thank you so much – David was chuffed when I sent the link! x

    7. I have always loved the Rosie poster. The book reminds me a little of Richard Scary’s books. I will have to take a look.

    8. Rachel HODGSON

      Well that’s my next rainy day activity sorted. Brilliant!

    9. We LOVE Iggy Peck, but I didn’t see that there was a “sequel” until last week. I’m so excited to read it with my kids!
      Amy @ Sunlit Pages recently posted..Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

    10. Oh, and I meant to say that your creation is AMAZING! I wonder if my kids would have the fortitude to tackle something like that.
      Amy @ Sunlit Pages recently posted..Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

    11. Hi Amy, Give it a go – it was a cheap activity, and I was taken with how my girls really concentrated on it – I suppose the novelty of the materials helped.

    12. It looks fab, both the book and the activity. Would be fab to do at school, or even on a rainy day. But what do I hear, you don’t like marshmallows?!?
      Library Mice recently posted..The Storm Whale

    13. TOTALLY happy! Why didn’t this book come out when I was doing my Engineering degree?!

    14. And why o why don’t we live next door to you?! Look at that gorgeous creation!

    15. […] Book Review Playing By the Book Book Review Overdue Books Book […]

    16. I loved this article. What inspiring content. I wish this stuff had been around when I was a kid but there’s hope for my granddaughter (only 3 months old). I can’t wait to play engineering games with her.

    Leave a Reply to Amy @ Sunlit Pages Cancel reply

    CommentLuv badge

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.