Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions

Illustrated by Don Tate

A Junior Library Guild selection

Included on the 2017-18 Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List and 18 other state reading lists

Starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly


A cool idea with a big splash!

You know the Super Soaker. It's one of the top twenty toys of all time. And it was an accidental discovery that brought it into being. Trying to create a new cooling system for refrigerators and air conditioners, inventor Lonnie Johnson instead created the mechanics for the iconic toy.

A love for rockets, robots, inventions, and a mind for creativity were present in Lonnie Johnson's early life. Growing up in a house full of siblings, Lonnie demonstrated persistence and a passion for problem solving that became the cornerstone of his career as an engineer and his work with NASA. But it is Lonnie's invention of the Super Soaker water gun that has made the most memorable splash in popular culture.

Named one of the best children's books of the year by:

Praise for Whoosh!

*Starred Review* Barton shows the tenacity and dedication (and, sometimes, plain good timing) needed to prove ideas. ... A delightfully child-friendly and painfully necessary diversification of the science field.

Kirkus Reviews

*Starred Review* [T]he 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.

Publishers Weekly

The author's note explains Barton's mission to diversify common perceptions of what scientists and engineers look like and who they can be. This engaging and informative picture book exploration of Johnson's life succeeds in that right.

School Library Journal

This upbeat tribute makes an engaging and inspiring addition to STEM collections.


Barton's clean, lively prose and Tate's boldly composed, often comical illustrations--including a dramatic gatefold capturing the Super Soaker's mighty trajectory--make Lonnie Johnson's story of passion and persistence whoosh to life.

Shelf Awareness

The story focuses on an unlikely character who is not privileged, but has a persistence and patience that will act as a role model for all young inventors. A great depiction of an inventor with the "right stuff"! Highly recommended for all ages!

National Science Teachers Association