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Whoosh!
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Whoosh!
Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions
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A cool idea with a big splash You know the Super Soaker. It's one of top twenty toys of all time. And it was invented entirely by accident. Trying to create a new cooling system for rockets,...
A cool idea with a big splash You know the Super Soaker. It's one of top twenty toys of all time. And it was invented entirely by accident. Trying to create a new cooling system for rockets,...
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Description-

  • A cool idea with a big splash   You know the Super Soaker. It's one of top twenty toys of all time. And it was invented entirely by accident. Trying to create a new cooling system for rockets, impressive inventor Lonnie Johnson instead created the mechanics for the iconic toy.   A love for rockets, robots, inventions, and a mind for creativity began early in Lonnie Johnson's life. Growing up in a house full of brothers and sisters, persistence and a passion for problem solving became the cornerstone for a career as an engineer and his work with NASA. But it is his invention of the Super Soaker water gun that has made his most memorable splash with kids and adults.

 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • From the book Every day brought a challenge for young Lonnie Johnson—the challenge of finding space for his stuff. Six Johnson kids were squeezed into their parents' small house in Mobile, Alabama. Lonnie would have loved a workshop of his own, but there just wasn't room. There was nowhere to keep his rocket kits...bamboo shooters...rubber-band guns...Erector set...go-kart engine...bolts and screws and other spare parts his dad let him bring in from the shed, and various other things he'd hauled back from the junkyard.

About the Author-

  • Chris Barton is the award-winning, best-selling author of several books for children, including Shark vs. Train (Little, Brown) and The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors. He lives in Austin, Texas.

    Don Tate is an award-winning author and illustrator of many books for children. His illustrated books include The Cart That Carried Martin and Hope's Gift (Putnam). He is also both author and illustrator of It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw (Lee & Low) as well as Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (Peach Tree). He lives in Austin, Texas.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 25, 2016
    Homemade robots, space probes, pressurized water rifles—the story of African-American inventor Lonnie Johnson is tailor-made for a young audience, and Barton and Tate do it justice in this inspiring account of a man driven toward innovation against the odds. Johnson’s interest in engineering blossomed at an early age, and he went on to work on NASA’s Galileo project and design what would become the popular Super Soaker water gun. Barton makes clear how Johnson struggled in his unconventional line of work, and also shows the rewards of his persistence. Tate’s inviting digital illustrations bring an appropriately playful air to the pages, especially in a foldout spread showing the Super Soaker’s blast in all of its glory. Ages 7–10. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2016

    Gr 2-5-As a child, Lonnie Johnson was a "tinkerer," or an avid collector of pieces and parts-all things that were considered scrap but that to Johnson were perfectly ripe for new applications. Early projects included rockets, a robot, and a powerful sound system for parties. Johnson's engineering degree took him to NASA, where he worked on the Galileo orbiter and probe. What Johnson really wanted to do, however, was build his own inventions. When trying to find an environmentally friendly solution to refrigerator and air-conditioning cooling systems, he stumbled upon what would eventually become his opus, the Super Soaker. Readers follow the many obstacles and setbacks Johnson experienced as he tirelessly worked to launch his invention. The narrative-based primarily on personal interviews the author had with Johnson-adeptly captures the passion and dedication necessary to be an engineer. The cartoonlike illustrations, rendered digitally with Manga Studio, combine child appeal with enough realism to accurately convey various scientific elements. Great care is taken to portray the institutional racism Johnson experienced, such as school tests that tried to dissuade his interest in engineering and his competing in a 1968 science fair in the newly desegregated but unwelcoming University of Alabama. The author's note explains Barton's mission to diversify common perceptions of what scientists and engineers look like and who they can be. This engaging and informative picture book exploration of Johnson's life succeeds in that right.

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from March 15, 2016
    A tinkering African-American boy grows up to become the inventor of a very popular toy. Lonnie Johnson always tinkered with something. As a kid, he built rockets and launched them in the park amid a crowd of friends. (He even made the rocket's fuel, which once caught fire in the kitchen. Oops.) As an adult he worked for NASA and helped to power the spacecraft Galileo as it explored Jupiter. But nothing is as memorable in the minds of kids as his most famous invention (to date): the Super-Soaker. While testing out a new cooling method for refrigerators, Johnson accidentally sprayed his entire bathroom, and the idea was born. However, the high-powered water gun was not an instant success. Barton shows the tenacity and dedication (and, sometimes, plain good timing) needed to prove ideas. From the initial blast of water that splashes the word "WHOOSH" across the page (and many pages after) to the gatefold that transforms into the Larami toy executives' (tellingly, mostly white) reactions--"WOW!"--Tate plays up the pressurized-water imagery to the hilt. In a thoughtful author's note, Barton explains how Johnson challenges the stereotypical white, Einstein-like vision of a scientist. A delightfully child-friendly and painfully necessary diversification of the science field. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Tate plays up the pressurized-water imagery to the hilt. In a thoughtful author's note, Barton explains how Johnson challenges the stereotypical white, Einstein-like vision of a scientist.
    A delightfully child-friendly and painfully necessary...
    ♦ A tinkering African-American boy grows up to become the inventor of a very popular toy.
    Lonnie Johnson always tinkered with something. As a kid, he built rockets and launched them in the park amid a crowd of friends. (He even made the rocket's fuel, which once caught fire in the kitchen. Oops.) As an adult he worked for NASA and helped to power the spacecraft Galileo as it explored Jupiter. But nothing is as memorable in the minds of kids as his most famous invention (to date): the Super-Soaker. While testing out a new cooling method for refrigerators, Johnson accidentally sprayed his entire bathroom, and the idea was born. However, the high-powered water gun was not an instant success. Barton shows the tenacity and dedication (and, sometimes, plain good timing) needed to prove ideas. From the initial blast of water that splashes the word "WHOOSH" across the page (and many pages after) to the gatefold that transforms into the Larami toy executives' (tellingly,...
  • World Magazine
    ". . .exuberant. . . "

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    Charlesbridge
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