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

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

Chris Barton, illus. by Don Tate. Charlesbridge, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58089-297-1

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. [em]Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary. (May) [/em]