Reviews for Pop! : The Invention of Bubble Gum

Booklist Reviews 2010 April #2
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. Starting at the Fleer Factory in 1927, the book introduces a young accountant, Walter Diemer, who knew more about numbers than gum. But when a lab is moved next door to his office, Diemer takes an interest in the invention of a new kind of gum. Eventually he develops bubble gum, tries it out at a mom-and-pop store to great success, and launches an enduring American icon. The acrylic paintings portray humor throughout, in part by peopling the book with googly-eyed characters who are often chewing a wad of gum. The story also touches briefly on the origin of gum, and the back matter--a short biography of Diemer, a fact list about gum, and a bibliography, including the sources from which McCarthy got her quotes--adds more info to the attractive package. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
In 1928 mild-mannered accountant/inventor Walter Diemer introduced bubble gum to the American public. This light-as-air biography covers a popular topic and a likable hero whose success comes through hard work, perseverance, and ingenuity. McCarthy's signature round-faced characters, with spherical insectlike eyes, suggest gumballs playfully rolling across each page. An author's note including interesting facts about chewing gum continues the good-humored theme. Bib. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #3
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. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 April #1
Bubble gum is inherently fascinating (especially when you get it in your hair), so a history of the subject should have a foot up, and McCarthy comes through with flying colors--appropriately candy colors, at that, along with cartoonish, bubble-eyed characters set against atmospheric backdrops. With minimal text, the breezy narrative charts bubble gum's progress: As the Roaring Twenties careen toward the Depression, the Fleer family of candy-makers is looking for a way to jazz up plain old gum and light a fire under their flagging profits. There is evidence that gum chewing goes back to when we lived in caves (in Sweden, where we apparently chomped on birch resin), but some bright apple at Fleer's thought blowing bubbles with the stuff was the way to go. The author zeroes in on the work of the firm's accountant, Walter Diemer, in tweaking the recipe until he got it right. This is fun stuff, fleshed out in greater detail in two pages of merry endnotes. A sweetly told, worthy tale--the world needs more heroes like Walter. (Informational picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 May #1

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. Ages 4-8. (May)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 May

Gr 2-4--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.--Steven Engelfried, Multnomah County Library, OR

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