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

UPDATE TIME: 2019-06-14 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 28 user ratings

"With a growing focus in education on encouraging students to develop interest in the sciences, books like this are so important. And to have the book address briefly the importance of persistence, creativity, and hard work add greatly to the power of the book. I also loved the fact that Lonnie's family supported him despite the lack of room for a 'workshop' for him. The let him collect 'junk' and rocket kits and other things that he used to invent. Johnson's accomplishments at a science fair with a hand built robot and with NASA are highlighted as well. The part of the book I found most interesting though was the section on when he quit his job to focus on his inventing only to have all his plans fall through. Many people might quit under such discouraging circumstances. By this time, Johnson had created a prototype of what would become the Super Soaker, but couldn't find a toy company willing to take a chance on in. But he kept looking until he found one willing to take the chance. And the rest is history. But despite making his fortune, the man continues to create to this day. An inspiring example for young and old alike, Lonnie Johnson proves the value of persistence and using one's skills to make a difference. Tate's illustrations are unsurprisingly gorgeous and complement the text beautifully. My favorite picture though shows Johnson demonstrating his water gun was a delightful 'WHOOSH'! An inspiring picture biography that belongs in most collections." said.

"Whoosh! is the story of Lonnie Johnson, the inventor of the Super Soaker Water Gun. Lonnie was always an inventor, even as a child. While he was told that he would not make an engineer based on tests he took in school, he did not give up. He worked hard to make his dream come true. Beginning with childhood robots, Lonnie worked his way up to becoming an engineer for NASA.
Whoosh! is Lonnie Johnson’s life accessible to young children. When he accidentally invented the Super Soaker Water Gun, he tried to sell it to toy companies. He had no success, but he did not give up. He quit his job as NASA and had to move his family out of the family home. He did not give up and eventually sold the water gun and made a lot of money from it.

The illustrations are bright and cheerful. I think children will enjoy the story behind the toy that most people are familiar with. Lonnie Johnson is a great role model, he doesn’t give up and he doesn’t let his circumstances define him. He doesn’t fit our ‘mold’ of an inventor. Lonnie shows readers that there is always something new to create. This might encourage readers to get out there and build something of their own. What a great book to read to children before a Science Fair or unit on creativity and inventions. Even though this is a biography, it is geared to children, easy to read and understand. Lonnie Johnson’s story is the perfect book to include in an elementary school or classroom library.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
" said.

" Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton Illustrated by Don Tate. This book was published May 3, 2016. I was lucky enough to have a new nonfiction at the beginning of our children’s nonfiction section. I was browsing the books to see what new ones we had in, and this one caught my eye. One because it is a picturebook. It seems to be a popular topic this week to where the nonfiction picturebooks are shelved. This one was shelved in our J Biographies under Johnson. This is an interesting story how a young Lonnie Johnson was always getting himself into trouble or making a mess for wanting to invent new things. After ups and downs, he accidently invents a water gun after testing his theory that refrigerators and air conditioners don’t need R-12. Simply water and air pressure would work just as good. Amazed at the pressure of water he thought it would be a great idea for a water gun. With more ups and downs in his career, he finally creates the Super Soaker. This book is a biography but has science aspects as well. At the end of the book, there is an author's note about how air compression works and the scene behind this amazing invention that Johnson finally created. This book also brings up social issues such as allowing African-Americans into college for in 1968 when Johnson went to the science fair it had only been five years ago that they were not allowed in schools at the University of Alabama. This book is a bit text heavy, so I would say it would be best for 2-5th graders. I think this book also gives create encouragement to kids. It teaches them to follow their dreams. I like the colorful, cartoony illustrations throughout this book. There is even a pullout page with water as it says WHOOSH! WOW! To emphasize how big of a splash this super soaker made." said.

"I thought this book was wonderful! So often when students read about inventors who do great things it feels so far removed from their own lives. Yet almost every student has seen a super soaker in action. It makes the story of Lonnie Johnson so much more approachable. Learning how he started by taking things apart and making new things was inspiring. I appreciated that the book mentioned a test told him he could not accomplish his dream, but he just ignored it and worked harder. It is inspiring for students who have so many tests that try to influence their self-worth.

This will be a book I will strongly encourage all the student to read for the bluebonnet awards. I might even have to read it to them.
" said.

"When a young kid discovers a love of science, you know the book is going to be awesome

Lonnie Johnson was just a young kid when it was discovered he had a natural talent for engineering. He loved learning, designing, and inventing. It helps that he had quite the imagination. He grew up poor, in a very small house.

He went to high school and excelled, he won first prize in the science fair for a robot he designed. This was an accomplishment because previously African Americans were ineligible to compete. He graduated and went to college where he quickly got a job at NASA.

He continued learning and inventing new imaginative things in his own workshop. Which is something he dreamed of having as a kid! At this point, he had met his goals, overcame unimaginable adversity and been extremely successful.

On day while trying to find a new and efficient way to cool down refrigerators and conditioners, he created a super soaker water gun. He is forced to overcome even more adversity as he tries to bring his new found product to market. He has a lot of doors slammed in his face. Just when it seems like he would give up. He perseveres in order to see the success of his work.

Packed with a surprise that will wow your children. Whoosh! encourages children to chase their dreams, climb over every obstacle in their way. It is a perfect narrative to start talking to your child about issues facing this world in a soft, and gentle way.

This is an extremely upbeat story that will get your reader interested. This is the perfect story for little boys and girls who want to become inventors or even engineers when they grow up. This is a great picture book for diversity.

Let's talk about the art. This book is super cute, and done in a sort of comic book way. As a cute bonus, the inside covers contain drawings of the actual invention. I really enjoyed the style of art. The color was bright but not overwhelming. The writing was clear and easy for readers.

I received this book for review from Charlesbridge in exchange for my honest and completely unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
" said.

"Digital Text: “Woosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super Soaking Stream of Inventions” by Chris Barton was awarded the 2017 Cook Prize for Bank Street College of Education Finalist. Readers are immediately captivated by Lonnie Johnson’s persistence and very cool water gun invention, the…Super Soaker. This colorful biography follows the life of the African American inventor/scientist who despite many challenges worked hard, experienced failure, and pushed through in order to become a NASA engineer and finally a successful independent inventor with his very own lab.His persistence proved fruitful and payed off tremendously. This text would be a welcome addition to any unit on perseverance. It is probably best suited in an upper elementary or middle school. This book clearly lends itself to other books of famous inventors who had to push through difficult times and fight to become successful. It is also sure to encourage students to learn more about other inventors or inventions that they are interested in." said.

" Great picture book biography for the K-3 set! This would especially be of interest to kids who liked The Day-Glo Brothers. " said.

" My youngest found this book at the library and it did not disappoint! Loved the story of perseverance and how the super soakers came to become a hot toy item. " said.

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