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POP! by Meghan McCarthy


The Invention of Bubble Gum

by Meghan McCarthy & illustrated by Meghan McCarthy

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: May 4th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7970-8
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Bubble gum is inherently fascinating (especially when you get it in your hair), so a history of the subject should have a foot up, and McCarthy comes through with flying colors—appropriately candy colors, at that, along with cartoonish, bubble-eyed characters set against atmospheric backdrops. With minimal text, the breezy narrative charts bubble gum’s progress: As the Roaring Twenties careen toward the Depression, the Fleer family of candy-makers is looking for a way to jazz up plain old gum and light a fire under their flagging profits. There is evidence that gum chewing goes back to when we lived in caves (in Sweden, where we apparently chomped on birch resin), but some bright apple at Fleer’s thought blowing bubbles with the stuff was the way to go. The author zeroes in on the work of the firm’s accountant, Walter Diemer, in tweaking the recipe until he got it right. This is fun stuff, fleshed out in greater detail in two pages of merry endnotes. A sweetly told, worthy tale—the world needs more heroes like Walter. (Informational picture book. 4-8)