McCarthy, Meghan. Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010.
Gum! Who doesn't love gum? This is a great picture book about the invention of bubble gum in a most unexpected way. The end papers of this book feature a bubblegum pink background with illustrations of gum balls in various colors. This sets the tone for the storyline. We see the story of Walter Diemer, who is an accountant at a gum and candy factory in Philadelphia. The illustrations get more colorful as Walter gets closer to finding the correct recipe for gum that makes bubbles. Walter gets asked to watch over a gum experiment and this leads to Walter experimenting with the gum recipe until he gets it just right. His discovery saves the company from closing and he eventually becomes the vice president of the company. I enjoyed the illustrations of this book, especially the bubble like eyes of the people displayed on the pages. We also get a look at the history of gum in the world. Did you know that even the Ancient Greeks had a form of gum? Do you know why the famous bubblegum has its pink color? Read this interesting book to find out!
The back of the book contains some additional information about Walter Diemer, even more fun facts about gum and a list of resources used to write the book.
Megan McCarthy's book about gum has received a star review from School Library Journal. This book is recommended for children grades 1-4, but I think younger children would enjoy the picture book style of writing. McCarthy has written several other books that you may be familiar with including: City Hawk: The Story of Pale Male and Seabiscuit: Wonder Horse.
Extension Activities: This book would make a fun addition to a study of inventions and inventors. It could also be used as a start to a fun day or program about bubble gum and candy. You could even make your own bubble gum if you have the time or you can buy a bubble gum making kit. You can even sing a song about bubble gum! There are many science experiments you could perform about gum (which gum makes the biggest bubbles? Does gum weigh more after being chewed? etc.). Here are some other books about the wonderful world of gum:
Be sure to check out the rest of the Nonfiction Monday posts, this week hosted by Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian!