My friends Archer (3rd grader) and Fable (kindergartener) and I interviewed Andrea Beaty, one of our favorite kid book authors.  Below, you’ll find our interview plus a fun bonus—she shares some hidden secrets about the illustrations in the book Rosie Revere, Engineer


GRAY: What or who inspired you to write about these characters?

ANDREA BEATY: I wrote IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT because I was inspired by my kids who loved to build great creations from soup cans and rocks and boxes and anything they could find when they were young. It made me think about a kid who wanted to become an architect. Later, I wrote ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER after I saw the kids in Miss Lila Greer’s 2nd Grade classroom. The illustrator, David Roberts, created a class full of very interesting kids. Just like in a group of real kids, they each have their own talents. I think each of them has a story to tell. I started with Rosie because I could tell she was shy—You never see both of her eyes—and I wanted to find out more about her.

ARCHER: Did you know you wanted to write a second book when you were writing IGGY PECK?

ANDREA BEATY: I did not know that I wanted to write a second book until I saw the illustrations David Roberts created for IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT. That inspired me to write ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER. Now, I want to write stories for some of the other kids. They all have stories to tell though I don’t know what they are until I write them! One of the things I like about writing is that it always surprises me and I never know what I might write next.

FABLE: Why do Iggy & Rosie like to build stuff so much?

ANDREA BEATY: I think that Iggy and Rosie are like most kids. They are full of creativity and can make the most astounding things when they believe in themselves. Sometimes kids—and even adults—can forget that they are amazing. They get scared or discouraged, but like Rosie Revere said, “The only true failure can come if you quit.” We need lots of creative ideas to solve problems in the world. I hope that Rosie and Iggy can encourage kids to be creative in their own way and to not give up when they get discouraged.

GRAY: Why did you choose David Roberts as your illustrator?

ANDREA BEATY: Actually, my  editor at Abrams Books For Young Readers, Susan Van Metre, picked David Roberts to illustrate IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT. And she made the perfect choice. Editors figure out how an illustrator’s style might work with a story. Susan saw something in David’s earlier work that made her think it would be a great match. And she was right.

GRAY: Did you imagine your characters the way the illustrator drew them?

ANDREA BEATY: No. I have now published eight picture books, and the illustrations are never how I imagine them when I write the story. Luckily for me, they are even better! I have amazing illustrators for my books. When I see the illustrations for the first time, it is like seeing a movie of a book I have read. For a moment, I think, “Wait! That’s not how they look!” But after only a moment, the illustrations replace the images in my brain perfectly. It’s a pretty cool process.

This is my favorite image from “Rosie Revere, Engineer”

This is my favorite image from “Rosie Revere, Engineer”

ARCHER: How do Rosie and Iggy build such amazing stuff out of garbage?

ANDREA BEATY: They use their imaginations to look at each item and try to imagine what it might become instead of what it was. You can do the same thing as a game. For instance, take the lid off a milk jug and try to imagine ten things you could do with it besides keeping milk in a bottle. Once you get started thinking like that, the possibilities will amaze you.

GRAY: Which one would you rather be: An Architect or An Engineer? 

ANDREA BEATY: That is a really hard choice. I love architecture and am fascinated by engineering. (In college, I studied biology and computers, so science is very important to me.) However, I don’t think I would become either. I like being a writer because it lets me explore different subjects. I get to have every different career just by imagining!

FABLE: Why is Iggy in Rosie’s book and Rosie in Iggy’s book?

ANDREA BEATY: They are both in Miss Lila Greer’s 2nd grade class at Blue River Creek Elementary School. And they are also neighbors.

GRAY: About how long did it take you to write each book? Did one take you longer?

ANDREA BEATY: It took me about two weeks to write IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT and almost two years to write ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER. I had a hard time figuring out what problem Rosie might tackle. Then, after talking with my Aunt Emaline and learning that she had been a “Rosie the Riveter” and worked in a factory in WWII, I decided that I wanted to include Rosie the Riveter in my story and everything snapped into place.

EVERYONE: What are you working on next?

ANDREA BEATY: Right now, David Roberts and I are working on a new book called MADAME CHAPEAU. It is about a woman who makes beautiful hats. When she goes out for her birthday supper, a crow steals her hat. David is working on the art now, so I will have a wonderful surprise awaiting me very soon! Also, I am writing the sequel to ATTACK OF THE FLUFFY BUNNIES. It will be called INVASION OF THE FLUFFY BUNNIES and I think it will be even funnier than the last one! And, I think that maybe there will be some more stories about the amazing kids in Miss Lila Greer’s 2nd grade!

Andrea Beaty shares five hidden details in the illustrations of ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER:

  • On the first classroom picture in ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER, Miss Greer is reading the architecture book she threw in the trash in IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT.

  • In that picture, we see Iggy with his pencil behind his ear. On the next page, Iggy is gone, but his pencil is on the floor for Rosie to find.

  • When Rosie hauls her invention onto the lawn, you can see the Sphinx that Iggy built in the background. Iggy and Rosie are neighbors!

  • All of Rosie’s family have one eye hidden at all times. The funniest one is Uncle Fred who has a snake on his head.

  • The pictures Rosie draws in her notebook show actual flying machines that were really invented or piloted by women.

The author’s rhymes are funny and clever

The author’s rhymes are funny and clever

Want to buy this book for yourself or someone you love? Find Rosie Revere, Engineeron Amazon or at Barnes & Noble or at your local independent bookstore by using the store finder. Haven’t read Iggy Peck, Architect? Click here to check it out on Amazon, too.

Special thanks to: Archer & Fable for their interesting questions. Fable & Archer can also occasionally be seen frolicking on their mom’s blog (Girls Gone Child). And, to Andrea Beaty and Abrams Kids/ Abrams Books For Young Readers—we love you!

Want to HEAR a few pages from Rosie Revere? Check out our VIDEO POST to see me reading from the book.