Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum
Paula Wiseman Book, Simon & Schuster, 2010
Nonfiction picture book
Pre-K – 3
“On a small street in Philadelphia in the 1920s, there was a factory owned by the Fleer family….
Inside the factory, lots of gum and candy were made….”
I grew up in a household with a mother who hated chewing gum. Only on certain occasions (Daddy, when he took us to the grocery store on rare trips) were we allowed to buy gum. Smacking was definitely not in the picture! Sadly, I inherited the non-chewing gum gene and still don’t care for it. As for the smacking—it drives me crazy. But I did buy it for my kids! Here’s a book that celebrates gum, inventors, and all the repetition that goes with science.
Gum has been around for a long time, but it took accountant Walter Diemer try after try to create a gum that allowed the chewer to blow bubbles. His success eventually promoted him to vice president, although he never got rich. But he made many kids happy around the world.
McCarthy uses her familiar round eyes to create the cartoon-style illustrations that add detail to the book. The drab factory colors at the start of the book increases to bright bubblegum pink by the end. and lets the reader celebrate the success of gum created for blowing bubbles. The brief, narrative text relates the history and behind-the-scenes story of how bubble gum came to be.
Back matter completes the book with gum facts, more about Walter Diemer, additional facts, and a detailed list of sources. A happy story of persevering in the face of failure comes from Pop! and kids are sure to love it.
Check out Growing With Science and the fun, informational bubble gum activities there.
Design an experiment to test the flavor of different varieties of bubble gum. Examine the gum and record qualitative observations (those you can see, smell, hear, etc). Discuss chewing the gum and how you can set the controls to keep the experiment equal. Choose three flavors and time them as the kids chew. Record the time when there is no flavor left. Rinse mouths and eat a cracker, and test the other brands. Record the results and repeat the process. Make a graph comparing the times.
Create your own graph here.
Here’s a fun site about graphs.
Good examples of how a graph works.
Blow bubbles and decide on a way to measure them. Let the kids figure out a way!
More about gum’s history.
National science standard: understanding about scientific inquiry
Book provided by publisher for Cybils consideration.