Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum


Product Details

$18.99  $17.66
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publish Date
9.32 X 10.24 X 0.41 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author

Meghan McCarthy is the award-winning author and illustrator of many books for children, including Earmuffs for Everyone!: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs; Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton; Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum; City Hawk: The Story of Pale Male; Seabiscuit the Wonder Horse; All That Trash; and Action! A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at Meghan-McCarthy.com.


This picture-book biography of the inventor of bubblegum is equal parts informative and entertaining. With appropriately simple but engaging prose, McCarthy relates how accountant Walter Diemer began "playing with different mixtures" in the late 1920s at the candy factory where he worked and eventually discovered a gum that bubbled. Judicious use of the inventor's own words helps to convey his enthusiastic personality. Along with Diemer's story, the author also covers a bit of gum history, the trial-and-error of invention, and the excitement that comes with a successful final product, all with just the right level of detail. Appealing acrylic cartoon illustrations fill this snippet of history with a sense of fun. The prominent curves of smiling faces and circular eyes and heads stand out against heavy lines and angles to fill each scene with playfulness that matches the subject. Rich colors capture the lighthearted joy of bubble blowers, both old and young, while contrasting darker tones reflect the drama of the inventor's lab work. A closing spread offers further information about Diemer's life, more fun facts about gum, and a full list of sources. Although the man will be unfamiliar to young readers, they know his invention well, and will appreciate his unexpected but well-earned success. McCarthy's on-target presentation makes this a strong choice for elementary biography assignments, booktalking, or just plain nonfiction fun. -- SLJ, May 2010, *STAR-- "Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum"
Walter Diemer, an accountant with the Fleer chewing gum company, slowly begins experimenting with ingredients, trying to create bubblegum. One batch is a near miss--his co-workers happily blow bubbles, but "the next day the mixture was as hard as a rock." But with time, "top secret ingredients," and the now classic pink coloring, he finally nails it: at a mom-and-pop store, kids blow bubbles for the first time. McCarthy's thickly painted acrylic cartoons create an expressive 1920s backdrop with bug-eyed characters dressed in the era's fashions. A closing section supplies numerous facts about gum. Unlike its subject matter, this history lesson is easily digestible. - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, May 3, 2010-- "Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum"
Believe it or not, there was once a world without bubble gum, until Fletcher Candy Company invented the stuff. McCarthy (author of picture-book nonfiction titles such as Seabiscuit, BCCB 11/08) follows the experimental exploits of Walter Diemer, in the 1920s one of the Fleer Company accountants, who became fascinated with the creation process. Finally managing to concoct a successful recipe for gum that allowed its chewer to blow bubbles, Diemer then saw his invention take off in popularity and become one of America's best-known treats. This is a lip-smacking combination of little-known story and kid-pleasing subject, and McCarthy spins her tale with just the right combination of history (including a brief foray into the history of chewing gum in general) and immediacy. An excited you-are-there tone ("Finally something was happening! Bubbles! Big, glorious bubbles!") and well-chosen quotes ("We were blowing bubbles and prancing all over the place!") add vitality, and it doesn't hurt that Walter seems to have been a generally enjoyable guy, in retirement riding around on a giant tricycle and inviting kids over for bubble-blowing contests. The illustrations create a period flavor with their subdued earth-toned acrylics, and there's a tidy geometry to the neat, strong lines that outline figures and elements. Sly humor abounds in the poker-faced expressions of the bubble-blowers and in McCarthy's trademark bulging-eyed people, here blowing bubbles that add even more roundness to their multiply spherical heads. The title's subject and style will make it an effective readalone as well as a readaloud; it's up to you if you dare to let audiences celebrate its completion with a satisfying pop! The book concludes with additional information about Walter Diemer, a collection of trivia about gum (mostly non-bubble), and source notes for quoted material.--DS, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June 2010
"A sweetly told, worthy tale--the world needs more heroes like Walter." - KIRKUS
HORN BOOK Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum by Meghan McCarthy; illus. by the author Primary Wiseman/Simon 40 pp. 5/10 978-1-4169-7970-8 $15.99 Although chewing gum dates back over nine thousand years, it wasn't until 1928 that mild-mannered accountant by day and inventor by night Walter Diemer introduced bubble gum to the American public. And the rest is history, with over forty million pieces of bubble gum now sold daily. McCarthy's light-as-air biography covers a popular topic and a likable ("I've done something with my life...I've made kids happy around the world") hero whose success comes through hard work, perseverance, and ingenuity. McCarthy's signature round-faced characters, with spherical insectlike eyes, suggest a number of gumballs playfully rolling across each page. Initial dark backgrounds reflect the dismal state of the pre-bubble-gum factory, while bright colors signal the perfected product as business booms. An author's note about the inventor extends the slight text; interesting facts about chewing gum continue the good-humored theme; a bibliography completes the back matter. BETTY CARTER-- "Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum"
"What a good idea for a book! Kids who enjoy blowing gum bubbles may never have considered how the treat came to be, but here, in easy language and with amusing illustrations, McCarthy changes that." --BOOKLIST-- "Pop!"
"Picture books make the perfect introduction to some subjects. "Pop!" will tell young readers all they need to know about the reinvention of one of history's most popular treats, and the witty drawings tell the rest." --New York Times, August 15th 2010.-- "Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum"