Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions

Posted on Jun 4, 2016 in BR Library

61Cf2nYV1SL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_By Chris Barton
Illustrated by Don Tate

Publisher: Charlesbridge
Pages: 32
Lexile: 820L
Age Range: 7 – 10 Years

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 refrigerators and air conditioners, 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.


“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. (May)
Publishers Weekly, starred review