Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Picture Book Wednesday: Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions

Back in 1989 Ronald Reagan was president of the United States and the Berlin Wall was torn down. While, these were important events of that year to the kids the most important was the release of the Super Soaker. Prior to the Super Soaker we only had smaller plastic water guns. Water guns that barely got you wet and ran out of water quickly. When this water gun came out I remember how badly I wanted one but they were not cheap.  The Super Soaker became a staple my middle grades years. Everyone wanted one or had one and they often upgraded to a new one as soon as the new model came out. 

Original Super Soaker

Chris Barton's book Woosh follows the story of Lonnie Johnson who invented the Super Soaker. The story starts with Lonnie as a child who likes to build rockets and robots. Barton explains the hardships that Johnson had including limited space, tests that said he was not smart enough, and competing at a school that did not like African-American students. The story follows Lonnie to adulthood where he creates some successful inventions and has difficulty getting funding for others. At the end of the story the Super Soaker is produced and kids around the world play with it. 

Lonnie Johnson 

Barton's book serves two purposes. It provides a picture book biography of Lonnie Johnson's life and inventions. It also sends the message to the reader that no matter the hardships you face you do not give up on your dreams. You too can be like Lonnie Johnson and be a problem solver. I loved this book and I recommend it to any library or individual interested in biographies or the Super Soaker. I also recommend that you go and get a Super Soaker for yourself or your kids to use during  the summer. These are great water guns and well worth the money. 

 Enjoy this Super Soaker ad  from 1993 to see how cool they were for kids my age. 

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