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Rosie: Stronger than Steel Hardcover – April 1, 2020
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“Cross-cultural feminist history goes down easy in this kid-friendly story. Factual details about female factory workers in the United States and the Women’s Land Army in England merge in this fictional tale of a sunny little tractor. Children too small to appreciate Ward’s deft melding of history and storytelling will still find much to enjoy…Ward’s art simultaneously anthropomorphizes Rosie and gives a sense of authenticity to her human figures. More than the sum of its parts, this is a wildly successful and well-researched shaping of the picture-book form to true historical sheroes.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“This ‘little tractor that could’ sort of tale pays tribute to the iconic Rosie the Riveter persona from the US and the British Land Girls of the Women’s Land Army during WWII. Fans of Loren Long’s Otis, Virginia Lee Burton’s Katy, and like sturdy, dependable workhorses will welcome Rosie into the fold, but the historical perspective adds an unusual dimension to her story.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Vocabulary is rich, and the younger set will appreciate the intermittent rhymes. The style of Ward’s colored pencil and cut-paper illustrations reflect the period of the tale. This historical fiction tale will serve better in a unit or lesson plan on women’s history theme than one on transportation.” —School Library Journal
“Ward emphasizes the role that many women played during WWII in this cadenced story narrated by a big-eyed emerald tractor christened Rosie…If the war feels distant in Ward’s brightly abundant scenes of women at work, bright mixed-media art lends the book an appropriate air of nostalgia. An author’s note and timeline offer historic details.” —Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series, as well as This Book Is Gray; Brobarians; Rosco vs. the Baby; and The Importance of Being 3. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Lindsay lives with her family in Peninsula, Ohio, where she often sees tractors from the 1930s and 1940s. Learn more about her online at www.lindsaymward.com.
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PLOT: It is World War II. Scrap metal is collected. Women work to build Rosie the tractor. She is sent to a farm where she and other women work for years to help the war effort. The war is won. Time goes by. Rosie breaks. I'm a little confused about the ending. Either Rosie went to a museum or she died and went to tractor heaven.
TEXT: The text is very peculiar. It's like non-rhyming poetry, except occasionally when Rosie utters her pat little rhyming speech. It's actually kind of annoying.
ARTWORK: Just fine. Nothing extraordinary, but not bad.
- Teaches history!
- The focus is on women and their contribution to the war effort.
- The tractor will make the story appealing to boys.
- The language was really annoying.
- The ambivalent ending was peculiar.
- There's not much of a story.
- While the tractor will appeal to boys and the strong women will appeal to girls, I wonder if this book is less of a case of "something for everyone" and more of a case of "no one will actually like it."
BEST READ BY: It's a picture book, so best read by you to your young one - but be aware that you will then need to explain the context, which involves telling your young child that World War II existed, which is going to lead to a whole lot of questions and disillusionment about the world in general. Adults, ruining the innocence of childhood one reality at a time.
NOTE: Purchased through my daughter's Amazon account and "shared" through the Family Library.
BOTTOM LINE: I'm not especially impressed by the book, but I do like that the story of women on the homefront during World War II is being told. That doesn't seem to happen too often.
Teaching moments are scattered throughout starting with the collection of scrap metal in the US. Little ones of today will be able to ask their parents the reason for collecting items. And, of course, the women working in the factory that manufactured Rosie in the US. Her voyage to England is illustrated well in the book. (Love her headlights) and upon her arrival there, she realizes the mission she has before her. 'This is my vow to dig and to plow'. Love Rosie and all that she represents...
Such an interesting read that illustrates...above all... the teamwork that the war effort required throughout the US and Britain. Times were tough and very difficult. At the end of the book, the author goes into detail about the war efforts including the history of the 'Land Girls' in Britain and also President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Land Lease Act.
Indeed a team effort which involved women taking the places of men in factories in the US and working the fields for crop production (and more in Britain). Fascinating read for me. When V-E Day arrived on 8 May 1945 it was indeed a huge celebration!
A couple of personal notes... my Mom and my Aunt worked in a plant producing capacitors in a small town in Vermont. Both had children so they alternated shifts so the children could be cared for). My Dad and my Uncle were both overseas in the US Navy. Most items were rationed and I still have one card with some unused rations on it. And, yes, Rosie was glad to get some new rubber tires when she was refurbished...
Learning lessons abound for the little ones, questions will be asked such as the reason Britain needed to grow crops, and many more opportunities for discussions.
Perfect, just perfect and Rosie was indeed a team player... working together to accomplish a most important mission during WW II.
Most highly recommended.
This is my Kindle First selection for March 2020.
So, 4 for art, 5 for idea, and 1 for implementation.
The author has at the end of the book some information about World War II, women working in factories and the need for farming supplies to support the war effort.
This is a wonderful tribute to working women both in America and the United Kingdom during World War II.
I like how the author used Rosie the tractor to tell the story in a delightful manner that will be appealing to children.
Rosie’s name is based on Rosie the riveter to commemorate all women who were working in the factories or in the farm fields during the war effort in World War II.
Top international reviews
I like how the author used Rosie the tractor to tell the story in a way that will appeal to young children. However I do feel the story could have had more oomph. I don't see my younger cousins wanting to read this more than once, although I do think it will have them curious to learn more about the land girls and WW2.
The comprehensive author notes at the back makes this a book to appeal to all ages.I love Rosie.
We also enjoyed the rhymes.
Highly recommended for primary aged children.