A modern heroine in Rosie Revere, Engineer

Apart from a penchant for handbags, my daughter is not a “girly” girl. She would rather make beads than wear them. She spends an inordinate amount of time constructing tiny cardboard houses but has no dolls (or interest in dolls) to put in the houses. Time in the backyard is often accompanied by requests such as “Got any wood? I thought I’d make a raft…”. And while most girls her age were watching Frozen, her favourite television show was (and still is) Grand Designs. Needless to say, you can keep your fairies and princesses, because she has a fictional hero – Rosie.

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty is a thoroughly delightful story about little Rosie, shy schoolgirl by day, inventor-extraordinaire by night. Rosie has a career plan – to become a great engineer – but in the meantime, puts her creative energy into all sorts of gizmos – from hot dog dispensers and helium pants to an intricate snake-repellent hat for her zookeeper uncle.

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Of course, Rosie hits some problems along the way and, just when she’s beginning to doubt her future as a great engineer, her great aunt reminds her of the importance of learning from mistakes –
“Life might have its failures, but this was not it. The only true failure can come if you quit.”

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Rosie Revere, Engineer does break the usual gender stereotypes but pleasingly, does not make a big deal of it.

Worth noting is an historical reference in the end papers, which briefly explains that during World War II, millions of women in Australia, Canada, the UK and USA and other countries, worked in non-traditional roles to provide food and equipment needed for the war effort. Women built ships, planes and tanks. In the US, these women were represented by the scarf-wearing fictional character, Rosie the Riveter, whose slogan was “We can do it!”

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Rosie Revere, Engineer proved so popular that printing couldn’t keep up with demand for a while! Thankfully, it’s back on the shelves – find it in all good book stores or online at Book Depository, which delivers free to Australia.

If you love Rosie, be sure to check out Andrea Beaty’s other title, Iggy Peck, Architect.

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Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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