BOOK: POP! THE INVENTION OF BUBBLE GUM
AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR: MEGHAN MCCARTHY
PUBLISHER: SIMON & SCHUSTER
AGE RECOMMENDED: 5+
The fascinating story behind the creation of bubble gum began in the early 1920s at a small candy factory in Philadelphia owned by the Fleer family. Walter Diemer, an accountant worked on the books and balanced the budgets. “He knew lots about math but not much about gum.” As the company outgrew its laboratory space downstairs, a new, experimental laboratory was set up in a room adjacent to his office. Walter became curious and learned that the company was trying to make a new type of chewing gum.
Walter wanted to give it a try with the gum and started experimenting with various mixtures. After much trial and error, Walter finally discovered a concoction that produced bubbles when chewed. He added flavours and colours to the gum before distributing it to local stores, even teaching people how to blow bubbles. Despite never profiting from his invention, Walter found contentment in knowing that he made people happy.
Children who adore bubble gum and inventing will find lots of exciting facts to explore as they join Walter’s voyage from accountant to inventor. His perseverance in spite of disappointment and even after his colleagues and supervisor had surrendered is encouraging and demonstrates that success can sometimes take more time than anticipated. The historical elements may encourage readers to discover more about how bubble gum was used in the past and in other countries and compare Walter’s flavour and colour components to those of today’s bubble gum.
POP! The Invention of Bubble Gum will engage kids in history and inspire them to keep trying even when everyone else has given up. The book contains supplementary biographical information on Walter Diemer, source references for quotations and interesting trivia about gum. This is an excellent resource if your children need to do a project on inventions. It has enough material for a brief report and is presented in an accessible manner.
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