Friday, February 1, 2019

Boo-Boos that Changed the World

I love stories of accidental invention. This one is particularly fun to read.
The Boo-Boos that Changed the World
by Barry Wittenstein; illus. by Chris Hsu
32 pages; ages 4-8
Charlesbridge, 2018

themes: accidents, inventions

Once upon a time, in 1917 actually, a cotton buyer named Earle Dickson married his beloved, Josephine, and they lived happily ever after.  The End.

Uh, no - that's actually the beginning. Otherwise it would be a very short story, right? It turns out that Josephine was accident prone. She cut herself on kitchen knives, grated her knuckles - whatever could happen would happen!

Earle had learned a bit about bandaging wounds from his dad, a doctor. So he tried to come up with a better way to make bandages that Josephine could use herself. Something that she could wind around a cut and that would stick on. Something easy... so he created what would eventually become Band Aids. The end. Except they weren't as easy to use as he'd hoped. So how could they be improved?

What I like about this book: I love the fun way that author Barry Wittenstein tells about the accidental invention of Band Aids. I love that he tells part of it, and it seems to be complete, The End. But no, turn the page and there's more! I like that Earle had to solve real problems, like how to make Band Aids sticky. And how to package them. And how big to make them. And how to market them. (Hint: who uses lots of Band Aids? Boy Scouts!)

And there is Back Matter (of course!). An author's note tells more about Earle and his invention, provides a timeline, and a list of other medical inventions.

Beyond the Book:
Did you know that the Band Aid is nearly 100 years old? (Band Aid celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020). Learn about some other medical advances that happened around the same time: the use of insulin to treat diabetes, discovery of vitamins D and E, discovery of penicillin, invention of the EEG (electroencephalogram), and even invention of cotton swabs.

Design your own band aid. What shape is it? How big? Does it have designs? Have fun!

Think like an inventor. What do you see a need for? Brainstorm some solutions for the problem. Write down your ideas and draw a picture showing how it looks and how it works.

You can find more activities about Boo-Boos over at Barry's website. Click on "downloads" and look for a curriculum guide - there's a fun Band Aid experiment.

Head over to Sally's Bookshelf to read about another book by Barry - a biography about baseball player Pumpsie Green. Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. And we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website . Review copies provided by the publisher.


  1. Kids are gonna LOVE this one. And a good book to read after a major boo-boo, too.

  2. I hope Barry is marketing this to every doctor's office across the country! I love learning the story behind every day things.

  3. This is a great book. What a great "where did this come from" story that everyone can relate to. Thanks for the great review.

  4. Great title for the book. What a little-known story! I agree, kids are going to love this story. Didn't realize Band Aids were invented 100 years ago!

  5. Thanks so much for reading our book, glad you enjoyed it. Before I took on this project even I had no idea where and when the bandaid came from. Glad we’re all learning something!

  6. What a terrific idea for a book. I will check this out. Thanks for the heads up.