Kid’s Corner: Rosie Revere Engineer
Until recently, my 4 (almost 5) year-old was convinced that princess was a viable career path. I remember receiving an email from her preschool about career day dress-up, requesting that parents explain to their children that princesses, mermaids, fairies, and pirates were not real career options. Interestingly many of the “problem careers” were stereotypically female. If you think about the children in your life, you may notice that little boys will rattle off real career options (albeit also highly gendered options) like fireman, builder, and policeman whereas girls tend to mention magical or false ones. While I don’t expect a preschooler to have his/her career path mapped out, but I find it curious that girls often aspire to futures that are untenable. I’m convinced that books and television have a large role in these early dreams. I spent years of my childhood convinced that I was going to be a detective thanks to Nancy Drew. Then thanks to my grandmother’s favorite TV show, I decided to become a lawyer. For the record, I became neither a detective nor a lawyer.
I say “until recently” because E’s career aspirations changed a few months ago after reading a book that one of our readers recommended: Rosie Revere, Engineer. Keep reading to see what Emma thought of the book.
There aren’t a huge number of books for young children that present non-stereotypical careers in a way that makes them exciting. Rosie Revere Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty (illustrated by David Roberts) are two wonderful exceptions. How many preschoolers have you heard say they want to be engineers or architects when they grow up? E and I read Rosie Revere Engineer before Iggy Peck and it was one of her first 5-star books (her rating). In subsequent months we bought and read Iggy Peck and it has replaced Rosie in order of her preference. Rosie has been downgraded to 4-stars and Iggy replaces it with a 5-star rating. In short, she loves them both.
If you can’t guess from the title, Rosie Revere is a young girl who dreams of becoming a great engineer. She builds fantastic things at night in her room from odds and ends that others consider to be trash. When her uncle laughs at her snake-repelling hat — a laugh she mistakes as mocking–she hides her dreams from others. When Aunt Rose arrives, she teaches her that failure isn’t something terrible but rather an means to learn and build better inventions. I personally love this book. Not only is Rosie cool, she is intelligent and creative. E is shy child and could identify with Rosie’s fear of being judged by other children. The book is beautifully illustrated and Iggy makes several cameos. I highly recommend both books but here is what E had to say:
Me: Did you like the book?
E: Yes, I liked it a lot.
Me: What did you like about it?
E: She builded stuff
Me: What was the message of the book? What was the book trying to tell you?
E: How to build stuff
Me: And what happens if you don’t succeed?
E: It doesn’t work so well
Me[Okay, so I may have been a bit leading here]: and what happens if it doesn’t work so well?
E: Try again
Me: That’s right! And, how many stars do you give it?
E: 4 stars out of 5
Emma then proceeded to give Iggy Peck Architect 5 stars because it was “funnier.” I suspect this had to do with the first page where Iggy wasn’t wearing any pants — this made her laugh hysterically while stating “he has no underpants.”
However, perhaps the best indicator of her thoughts about Rosie Revere came after we read the book the first time. E went on a building spree with her Keva blocks (Honestly, these are the best blocks out there! Deceptively simple but great for a variety of important developmental skills. Find them on Amazon: Structures 200 Plank Set). Here’s one of her inventions:
And, two weeks ago at her gym class when the circle-time question was “what do you want to be when you grow up.” E’s instructors did a double take when she responded with “engineer.”
If you want to try this book for yourself (and I highly recommend it) you can buy it here: Rosie Revere, Engineer
Have you read this book? What did you think? Do you have any other recommendations for good career focused books?