Rosie: Stronger than Steel

Written by Lindsay Ward
Review by Linda Harris Sittig

The author of this picture book for children tackles a difficult subject: Tractors made by factories in the United States and then shipped overseas to England during WWII.

Her author’s notes at the back carefully detail the research behind the book. Most Americans probably do not know the story of the tractors going to the United Kingdom to help in the war effort. The girls in England who received the tractors belonged to a large group called the Land Girls. They worked farms, growing crops for the British army.

The book has charming illustrations, as Rosie the Tractor seems to come to life. Repetitive rhyming text will help young children to stay focused on the story. That said, however, I am not sure that picture book readers will have a grasp about the war that hovers in the background of the story, nor will they know where England is in relation to the United States. Perhaps a map overview would have been helpful.

Unless the parent or teacher who shares this book can explain some of the necessary background knowledge, young children might miss some of the more important concepts like women pitching in to work in factories while the men went off to war.