Jewish inventor Ralph Baer never stopped pursuing his passion for learning, tinkering, and building, whether to solve problems, advance technology, or find new ways to spread fun.
Beginning with his childhood in Nazi-era Cologne, Germany, this biography follows Baer’s journey to becoming the “Father of Video Games.” Throughout his life, new problems and puzzles pushed him to seek solutions. He helped his family immigrate to the United States in 1938 and rebuild their lives. A childhood fascination with his construction set turned into an interest in the workings of developing technology. Baer saw possibility in what others criticized, including television, which he imagined as a platform for games. Wessels narrates the story of Baer’s inventive history in a conversational tone, using exclamation marks and posing rhetorical questions. Active and expressive cartoon illustrations accompany the text. Perseverance and creativity in the face of challenges recur as important themes and keys to Baer’s success. Moreover, Wessels emphasizes Baer’s curiosity in the process of creation, not simply the result. While the narrative remains focused, the sense of Baer’s age and the year are disconnected. The few touchstones for time provide no more than a loose progression of events and their historical context, making the book most suitable for pleasure and a gateway for further research.
A personable and energetic introduction with a positive message. (author’s note, additional reading, selected bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-12)