No history lessons here but plenty of affection, creativity, and raucous older ladies to make readers smile.


From the Questioneers series , Vol. 1

That intrepid, polka-dot-kerchief–wearing engineer, Rosie Revere, stars in this inaugural installment of a chapter-book series based on Beaty and Roberts’ popular picture books.

Emergency! The Blue River Riveters need Rosie’s help. A sister Riveter has broken both wrists in a motor-scooter mishap and needs mechanical assistance to participate in the upcoming Art-a-Go-Go contest. The Riveters, a tightknit family by choice brought together building B-29s during World War II, convince Rosie to do her part. Undaunted by the two-day deadline, Rosie draws on her own knowledge and experience to get the job done, and her pals, scientist Ada Twist and architect Iggy Peck, lend a hand as Rosie tries and tries again until she gets it right with the Paintapalooza 9. But when the artist’s arms grow tired in the middle of the contest, Rosie turns to an unexpected ally to get her back to work. The story has significant visual elements: Onomatopoeia and liberal capitalization make the text pop, and the grid-patterned art and design elements familiar from the picture books inspire a science-notebook feel. There’s a fair amount of diversity, either acknowledged in the text or portrayed in the black-and-white illustrations: Rosie and Iggy are white, and Ada is black, while among the Riveters, wheelchair-driving Eleanor, aka the Boss, is Asian, Ada’s great-aunt Bernice is black, and the remainder of the Riveters appear to be diverse in the artwork. Backmatter includes further information on valves and on the history of Rosie the Riveter.

No history lessons here but plenty of affection, creativity, and raucous older ladies to make readers smile. (Fiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3360-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.


Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...


Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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