ROSIE: STRONGER THAN STEEL
words + pictures by Lindsay Ward
pub date: March 1, 2020
Two Lions, Amazon Publishing
This is our Rosie,
stronger than steel.
She’ll plow all the land
with a turn of her wheel.
Built by women in the United States and sent to England to dig and plow alongside female farmers during World War II, Rosie the tractor does whatever is needed to support the war effort. She works day and night to help grow crops for the troops…even when she has to hide in the fields. This is because she knows, like the women who built her and the women who farm with her, that they all must do their part.
Inspired by the group of American women collectively known as “Rosie the Riveter” and the British Women’s Land Army, this is a story about taking action and coming together for the greater good.
“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
A Mighty Girl’s 2020 Books of the Year pick