by Andrea Beaty; illus. by David Roberts
32 pages; ages 5 and up
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2013
OK, I admit it: I picked this book for its cover. How could I resist the graph paper with bits of erector set and dis-assembled toys scattered across the bottom? Or the first line: “This is the story of Rosie Revere, who dreamed of becoming a great engineer”?
Rosie’s the shy girl at school. But back home, she creates wondrous gizmos from recycled stuff: straws, toilet-paper tubes, springs, doll arms… inventions she shared until her uncle laughed at her attempts. After that, Rosie quit showing anyone the things she creates.
… one day great-great-aunt Rose shows up. Aunt Rose, who helped build airplanes a long time ago. Aunt Rose who encourages Rosie to build a flying machine and, when it crashes, laughs till her eyes fill with tears. Rosie is ready to give up. It’s a failure, she thinks.
Not so fast, says Aunt Rose; before it crashed, it flew. It’s not a failure, but a Brilliant First Flop. A Brilliant First Flop that was “a raging success”. With that in mind, Rosie discovers (as do all engineers) that you’ve got to work through a lot of flops before you get that final design that works.
This book is great on so many levels: it encourages girls to explore engineering; it puts “failure” into the correct context of “just a stage on the road to discovery”; and it reminds us of the “can do” spirit of Rosie the Riveter. Not only that, the graph-lined endpapers provide room for young inventors to doodle their own designs.
It’s STEM Friday! If you’re sharing a review of a STEM book on your blog, please join us by leaving a link in the comments. And if you’re looking for some hands-on engineering ideas, head over to Archimedes Notebook.
(STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
Copyright ©2014 Sue Heavenrich. All Rights Reserved.