Title: Snowmobile: Bombardier's Dream Machine
Author: Jules Older
Illustrator: Michael Lauritano
Concepts: innovation, invention, entrepreneurship
Review: As a youngster, Joseph-Armand Bombardier already stood out from his peers for his intense desire to fix things and study hard at school. People considered him a mechanical genius, albeit an odd one who was not afraid to stand apart from the crowd. Growing up in a small town in Quebec in the early 1900s, Joseph-Armand experienced first-hand the isolation that came from transportation difficulties during the winter months when snow covered the ground.
In his teenage years, he built a rudimentary propellor-driven device that allowed him to glide across the snow. Unfortunately the contraption was rather dangerous and extremely noisy, so it had to be dismantled. It would take many more years of hard work, experimentation, and even a tragic personal loss before Joseph-Armand built a working model of the first snowmobile. He ultimately created his own successful company, Bombadier, and developed different types of tracked vehicles and snowmobiles.
This interesting biography offers a good opportunity to introduce young learners to the concept of innovation and the important lesson that successful inventions improve people's lives in very tangible ways. In emphasizing that Bombardier's interest in working on mechanical contraptions started at a young age, the book can encourage readers to think about how their own talents can ultimately transform into a career.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children