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Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines
Contributor(s): Aronson, Sarah, Neubecker, Robert (Illustrator)

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ISBN: 1481476688     ISBN-13: 9781481476683
Publisher: Beach Lane Books
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Binding Type: School And Library
Published: March 2019

Annotation: Discover how Rube Goldberg followed his dreams to become an award-winning cartoonist, inventor, and even an adjective in the dictionary in this inspiring and funny biographical picture book.

Want to become an award-winning cartoonist and inventor? Follow your dreams, just like Rube Goldberg! From a young age, Rube Goldberg had a talent for art. But his father, a German immigrant, wanted Rube to have a secure job. So, Rube went to college and became an engineer.

But Rube didn’t want to spend his life mapping sewer pipes. He wanted to follow his passion, so Rube got a low-level job at a newspaper, and from there, he worked his way up, creating cartoons that made people laugh and tickled the imagination. He became known for his fantastic Rube Goldberg machines—complicated contraptions with many parts that performed a simple task in an elaborate and farfetched way. Eventually, his cartoons earned him a Pulitzer Prize and his own adjective in the dictionary. This moving biography is sure to encourage young artists and inventors to pursue their passions.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Cartoonists; United States; Biography; Juvenile literature.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Art
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Art | Cartooning
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Art | Drawing
Dewey: 741.5/6973
LCCN: 2018016834
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 1-2, Age 6-7
Book type: Easy Non Fiction
Physical Information: 10.25" H x 8.75" W x 0.50" (0.92 lbs)
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2019 #3)
Aronson astutely observes that Rube Goldberg's life "was just like one of his famous inventions: an improbable and inefficient chain reaction that ends up making perfect sense." The son of German Jewish immigrants, Goldberg (1883–1970) dreamed of becoming a newspaper cartoonist but initially bowed to family pressure, earning an engineering degree and working as a San Francisco Department of Water and Sewers engineer. After just six months on the job, he quit. Neubecker's illustration of this period in Goldberg's life is dominated by a mess of pipes that twist and turn, neatly foreshadowing the wacky contraptions Goldberg would later draw. Aronson's lively and inspirational text gets clever treatment here, too: her words curve and bend inside the pipework. Up next for Goldberg was his first newspaper gig, where he mostly "emptied wastebaskets, cleaned the floors, and filed photographs." Finally he was hired as a cartoonist at the New York Evening Mail, where he concocted Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts and the "screwball contraptions" that today we call Rube Goldberg machines. Aronson notes that Goldberg "drew comics to make us look closer"; fittingly, this thoughtful, playful picture-book biography does just that, with whimsical pencil, ink, and digital illustrations capturing the machines' intricacies. Endpapers feature reprints of original Rube Goldberg cartoons; further biographical information and a list of sources are appended. tanya d. auger Copyright 2019 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2019 January #1)

In opening pages, Aronson describes artist and inventor Rube Goldberg: "In a funny way, his life was just like one of his famous inventions: an improbable and inefficient chain reaction that ends up making perfect sense." As a child, shy Goldberg immersed himself in drawing, but when his parents didn't support his plans to become a cartoonist, he studied engineering, then quit his steady job to follow his dream and embrace an alter ego. Aronson reveals Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts, "who invented one intricate machine after another." Neubecker's idiosyncratic art depicts several of Professor Butts's contraptions—one that elaborately punches holes in doughnuts, another that turns off a light. Readers will enjoy Goldberg's brilliantly impractical inventions and nutty personality. Ages 3–8. (Mar.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2018 December)

Gr 3–5—Everyone loves a Rube Goldberg machine, whether you've been mesmerized by a complicated toast-making, orange juice pouring contraption in a movie (you know the type), played Mousetrap, or worked on a slightly wacky high school science project to build one yourself. Aronson's picture book biography recounts moments from the life of an imaginative young boy turned discontented engineer turned driven newspaper cartoonist. Goldberg's observant nature and playful spirit produced decades of popular diagrams of totally unlikely and labyrinthine inventions for the world to enjoy. Aronson's narrative hovers between thoughtful biography and an inspirational tribute to Goldberg's work, which will leave readers wanting more information, especially about the cultural legacy of his ubiquitous cartoons. Neubecker's illustrations are animated and precise, connecting the unpredictable threads of the cartoonist's life to the spirit of his inventions. An image of a dizzyingly complicated sewer system calls to mind the early 20th-century milieu of discovery, invention, and rapid social change in which Goldberg's work was born and flourished. VERDICT Playful illustrations drive this loving biography for elementary-school-age inventors and dreamers.—Emilia Packard, Austin, TX

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.
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