The Band-Aid is one of those remarkably useful things that just about everyone has used, but has anyone wondered who invented them and how they become a staple in medicine cabinets all over?In an engaging, humorous narrative, Wittenstein reveals the true story behind the invention. In the 1920s, Earle Dickson worked as a cotton buyer for Johnson & Johnson. His wife, Josephine, was an accident-prone klutz who frequently injured herself in the kitchen, slicing, grating, and burning herself. The son of a doctor, Earle worked on finding easier ways to bandage Josephine’s injuries than wrapping them in rags. He took adhesive tape, then applied sterile gauze and crinoline, and the first Band-Aid was born. Impressed with Earle’s prototype, his boss agreed to produce and sell the bandage, but it took a while to catch on. Once Band-Aids were mass-produced, the company gave them away to Boy Scouts and soldiers serving in World War II, and then they caught on with the American public and the rest of world. Wittenstein notes that some of the dialogue and interactions between Earle and Josephine are imagined. Hsu’s illustrations, done in mixed media and Photoshop, have a whimsical, retro look that nicely complements the lighthearted tone of the text. Earle and Josephine are white, but people of color appear in backgrounds. Appealingly designed and illustrated, an engaging, fun story about the inspiration and inventor of that essential staple of home first aid.
— Kirkus Reviews STARRED REVIEW
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” Never is that so true than when it involves actual bodily injury! This book tells the fascinating story of the invention of the Band-Aid in the early twentieth century. Josephine Dickson was particularly accident-prone in the kitchen, inspiring her husband Earle to come up with a creative solution. The narrative moves smoothly through the Dickson’s household solution to the local impact (give Band-Aids to the Boy Scouts) to the global impact (Band-Aids were given to soldiers in World War II and are now used worldwide). Instructive back matter includes additional factual information about Earle Dickson, Band-Aids, and other major medical breakthroughs. The book tells the story with a delightful sense of humor. A running “The End” gag will make kids chuckle throughout as they will think they’ve reached the end of the story only to find out that it is not over yet. The splendid illustrations include historical details that evoke a distinct sense of time and place. VERDICT A funny and illuminating nonfiction entry that will hold particular appeal for aspiring inventors and future medical professionals.—School Library Journal
Band-Aids are ubiquitous, so it’s hard to imagine a time without them. But 100 years ago, one worried newlywed grappled with how to help his accident-prone bride bandage all the nicks and cuts she got from working around the house. While the idea seems obvious today, the first iterations of the product were not an instant success. Hard work and patience were crucial. Wittenstein’s skillful storytelling makes this a fun and compelling read, and Hsu’s illustrations capture the look and feel of the era. With back matter that fleshes out the story and lists other medical inventions of the time, this book is appropriate for a variety of ages.