A Super Sticky Mistake: The Story of How Harry Coover Accidentally Invented Super Glue! by Alison Donald, illustrations by Rea Zhai. Maverick Publishing, 9781848866478, 2020
Format: PDF review copy (Hardcover available September, 2020)
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
What did you like about the book? Most people might not know who Harry Cover was, but they do know Super Glue–and he was the inventor of Super Glue! When Harry was a young boy, he loved many activities and sticking with the activities regardless of the obstacles. His favorite subject in school was chemistry and this led him to a job as a research chemist. During World War Two Harry was given the task of developing a very strong and durable plastic that could be used in the war effort. His efforts led him to create a substance that was extremely sticky (called “cyanoacrylate”)–something he could not use at the moment, but would resurface during later experiments. Years later, after much trial and error, Harry was able to use this sticky mess as an adhesive in so many ways. This glue could hold items together, help repair bones, help skin heal, reveal fingerprints on items, and it was even used to help repair a space shuttle. At the age of 92, Harry Cover received the National Medal of Technology and Invention.
This book is about the invention of Super Glue, but it is really so much more. The story emphasizes the mistakes that happened along the way, but how Harry and the other scientists kept striving to achieve their goal. The story also shows how a “mistake” can turn into something important and very useful. This story somewhat reminds me of Beautiful Oops where children are encouraged to make something wonderful out of what it initially perceived as a mistake.
Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing
To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for a wide range of children, maybe four years old and older. The message to keep trying even in the wake of defeats or mistakes is such an important lesson for young children to see.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, daycare centers, anyone who works with children over the age of four years old.
Where would you shelve it? Nonfiction Picture Books or Biographies
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, an interesting story with an important message as well.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.
Date of review: June 18, 2020