Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines

Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines

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 imm...

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Title:Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines
Author:Sarah Aronson
Rating:

Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines Reviews

  • Laura Harrison

    An absolutely spectacular biography. Robert Neubecker's illustrations are detailed, whimiscal and so creative.

  • Eileen Meyer

    Oh my goodness, I ADORE this fascinating story of Rube Goldbert! His advice that "You have to have courage to be a creator" is spot-on for young readers to take to heart as they dream of what they might want to accomplish one day. Sarah Aronson's story-telling is lively and insightful; her prose pulls you into Rube's life story. How did I not know anything about this amazing man? Robert Neubecker's illustrations are incredible; each page is a treat for your eyes. Neubecker's illustrations of Rub

    Oh my goodness, I ADORE this fascinating story of Rube Goldbert! His advice that "You have to have courage to be a creator" is spot-on for young readers to take to heart as they dream of what they might want to accomplish one day. Sarah Aronson's story-telling is lively and insightful; her prose pulls you into Rube's life story. How did I not know anything about this amazing man? Robert Neubecker's illustrations are incredible; each page is a treat for your eyes. Neubecker's illustrations of Rube's cartoon drawings and complicated machinery will entertain readers of all ages. And the appendix information is a huge win: I was unaware of Rube's accomplishments, including the Pulitzer Prize win for cartooning. Don't miss this inspiring story of Rube Goldberg and how he achieved his cartooning dream. The book is a perfect gift for a young friend who is just beginning to dream of his/her own happily every after.

  • Richie Partington

    Richie’s Picks: JUST LIKE RUBE GOLDBERG: THE INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF THE MAN BEHIND THE MACHINES by Sarah Aronson and Robert Neubecker, ill., Beach Lane, March 2019, 48p., ISBN: 978-1-4814-7668-3

    “But maybe more than anything else, everyone loved reading about Rube’s alter ego, Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts.

    The eccentric professor invented one intricate machine after another, and none of them were straightforward. In fact, they were the opposite of straightforward and often disregarded the

    Richie’s Picks: JUST LIKE RUBE GOLDBERG: THE INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF THE MAN BEHIND THE MACHINES by Sarah Aronson and Robert Neubecker, ill., Beach Lane, March 2019, 48p., ISBN: 978-1-4814-7668-3

    “But maybe more than anything else, everyone loved reading about Rube’s alter ego, Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts.

    The eccentric professor invented one intricate machine after another, and none of them were straightforward. In fact, they were the opposite of straightforward and often disregarded the laws of physics.

    Although this was the age when new machines were being invented to make life easier, Rube’s screwball contraptions purposefully solved problems in the most surreal and ridiculous ways.”

    “Cause if your mind don’t move and your knees don’t bend

    Well don’t go blamin’ the kids again”

    -- from OK GO, “This Too Shall Pass” (2010)

    “A creative collective of engineers, architects, roboticists, and NASA research scientists known as Syyn Labs are the minds behind OK Go's famed 2010 ‘This Too Shall Pass’ video, which features an intricate Rube Goldberg contraption synchronized seamlessly with the song's beats and lyrics. According to Syyn Labs' president, Adam Sadowsky, the entire setup featured more working parts than a car engine, including a soccer ball that triggered a falling piano and a rolling tire that turned on a fan, which then blew an umbrella ... (you get the idea). While the 4-minute video was shot in single takes over two floors in an L.A. warehouse, and the contraption ran all the way through three times, there's one slight edit around the 2:20 mark for the sake of consistency. The entire video took about 60 takes to make. It has more than 40 million views on YouTube.”

    -- from Popular Mechanics, “7 Unbelievable Rube Goldberg Machines We Love”

    My first years as a young reader coincided with the last years in the successful career of cartoonist Rube Goldberg, the cartoon artist who drew crazy machines. I vividly recall poring over his cartoons as a kid. Several months ago, in reviewing A DROP OF HOPE, I even made a reference to Rube Goldberg machinery. So I was excited to find Sara Aronson’s lively new picturebook biography, JUST LIKE RUBE GOLDBERG.

    The book begins and concludes with multiple examples of Rube Goldberg’s cartoons. The titles of the contraptions depicted frequently provide readers a sense of the era in which Goldberg lived. Some examples are “Only Successful Way Of Hailing A Street Car;” “The Only Sanitary Way to Lick a Postage Stamp;” and “Easy Way To Keep The Milk From Being Stolen Off The Front Step.”

    It’s fun to read about the life of someone so quirky, who ignores well-worn paths and just heads off in an entirely new direction. Sara Aronson shows how Goldberg began emulating cartoonists at the early age of four and then spent decades listening to his parent’s advice, and doing what he had to do to survive financially, while steadily practicing his art and pursuing his real dream of being a professional cartoonist. He eventually succeeded and, by time he was done drawing, he had created over 50,000 cartoons! It shows how it’s possible to find a balance between dreams and practicality. and, maybe, with patience, practice, and ingenuity, succeed at your passion..

    There’s a trove of lively action in Robert Neubecker’s illustrations of the life and times of Rube Goldberg. They do a great job of complementing the Goldberg cartoons.

    The cartoons themselves are good, old-fashioned fun. I just hope no one gets hurt when imaginative and inspired young readers start coming up with wild ideas and plans for their own Rube Goldberg machinery!

    Richie Partington, MLIS

    Richie's Picks

    richiepartington@gmail.com

  • Susan

    Such a fun book! Like many, I grew up hearing Rube Goldberg used as an adjective for complex contraptions. Who knew the man was a true creative who refused to take no for an answer? Fun, detailed illustrations bring to life the book’s lively words (and on one spread prompt the reader to playfully turn the book from side-to-side to follow the story). A great story that will prompt discussion of the power of play, dreaming big and persevering.

  • Paula

    I LOVE THIS BOOK! I learned so much about this man who is synonymous with invention that astounded me. How did I not know? But it's not just the facts, it's the way Sarah Aronson weaved together a story of grit, creativity, and hope and Robert Neubecker brought to life in his illustrations that makes this book SHINE! So fun, so innovative...just like Rube Goldberg. Add this one to your classroom library and you'll spark creativity and perseverance in so many young readers.

  • Patricia Powell

    What a fun book! In her sparkling voice, the author tells us "his life was just like one of his famous inventions: an improbable and inefficient chain reaction that ends up making perfect sense." The author has left room for the illustrator to depict outrageous inventions (and I wonder what kind of illustrator notes the author included). The reader (or more likely, the listener/viewer) can follow

    "How do you Cut your own Hair?"

    A. the cat chases the mouse who bounds onto a suspended platform

    B. att

    What a fun book! In her sparkling voice, the author tells us "his life was just like one of his famous inventions: an improbable and inefficient chain reaction that ends up making perfect sense." The author has left room for the illustrator to depict outrageous inventions (and I wonder what kind of illustrator notes the author included). The reader (or more likely, the listener/viewer) can follow

    "How do you Cut your own Hair?"

    A. the cat chases the mouse who bounds onto a suspended platform

    B. attached to a boxing glove which punches (?) a granny in a rocking chair

    C. causing the chair to rock, pulling a cable

    D. attached to a cable to a pulley

    E. which pulls a weighted pipe

    F. the weight bounces onto a sprung platform also attached by cable to a pulley

    G. which pulls back a gripping hand on a pipe causing a boot to kick

    H. a man in the pants which causes his platform

    I. to roll forward causing the cord run thru a pulley

    J. to drop a

    K. goat onto your head to take a bite of hair.

    Got it? And that's just one of many. This is a celebration of thinking outside the envelope--working creatively!

  • Lisa

    Rube Goldberg always wanted to draw, but his german immigrant father insisted that Rube get a college education, so Rube became an engineer. But after a few years of crawling through mines and drawing pipe systems, Rube moved to New York and got a job with a newspaper as a cartoonist, becoming famous for is drawings of outlandish inventions for doing simple things the hard way.

    Sara Aronson's simply told biography is carried beautifully through Robert Neubecker's illustrations. Keeping with Gold

    Rube Goldberg always wanted to draw, but his german immigrant father insisted that Rube get a college education, so Rube became an engineer. But after a few years of crawling through mines and drawing pipe systems, Rube moved to New York and got a job with a newspaper as a cartoonist, becoming famous for is drawings of outlandish inventions for doing simple things the hard way.

    Sara Aronson's simply told biography is carried beautifully through Robert Neubecker's illustrations. Keeping with Goldberg's style, we see Rubes' life as well as fun examples of his machines. I really love these picture book biographies which are so accessible for a wide audience. Includes a more thorough biography as well as source material. Adding this to my middle school biography collection today.

    Visit this and more of my reviews at

  • Linda

    In her beginning pages, Sarah Aronson describes artist and inventor Rube Goldberg like this: “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. Goldberg immersed himself in drawing in his younger years, but his parents didn’t support his plans to become a cartoonist, so he chose engineering. After a very brief time, he quit his job to follow his dream, to draw. And he did. After doing cleaning work

    In her beginning pages, Sarah Aronson describes artist and inventor Rube Goldberg like this: “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. Goldberg immersed himself in drawing in his younger years, but his parents didn’t support his plans to become a cartoonist, so he chose engineering. After a very brief time, he quit his job to follow his dream, to draw. And he did. After doing cleaning work at the San Francisco Chronicle, Goldberg kept on drawing. He did get his breakthrough; they began publishing his cartoons and a column. Disaster came in the San Francisco fire of 1906. He drew comics to cheer people up. And Goldberg also realized he had to make a change, so traveled to New York City, became a columnist at a big paper. At last, Goldberg's talent is revealed. In the marvelous machines we all know and drawn with hilarious "Goldbergian" detail by Robert Neubecker, Aronson reveals Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts, “who invented one intricate machine after another.” His art depicts several of Professor Butts’s contraptions—one that elaborately punches holes in doughnuts, another that turns off a light. If you or the children with whom you share this book aren't familiar with Rube Goldberg machines, they will adore them, first want to draw, then create their own.

    This project was a favorite of my students when I taught. Together we created a set of goals, (like bounce a ball, hammer a nail, mix up instant pudding, etc.) and in teams of two or three, they had a number of weeks to "make" the machine. How wonderful it would have been to have had this book then! The lobby of our Denver Children's Hospital has an elaborate one for everyone to enjoy. And you can find examples of drawings and machines on YouTube.

  • Ben Truong

    is a children's picture book written by Sarah Aronson and illustrated by Robert Neubecker. It chronicles the life of Rube Goldberg, a man who’s crazy machine made him a household name.

    Reuben Garrett Lucius Goldberg, known best as Rube Goldberg, was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. Goldberg is best known for his popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets performing simple tasks i

    is a children's picture book written by Sarah Aronson and illustrated by Robert Neubecker. It chronicles the life of Rube Goldberg, a man who’s crazy machine made him a household name.

    Reuben Garrett Lucius Goldberg, known best as Rube Goldberg, was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. Goldberg is best known for his popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets performing simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. The cartoons led to the expression "Rube Goldberg Machines" to describe similar gadgets and processes.

    Aronson's text is rather simplistic, straightforward, and informative. It detailed the childhood of Rube Goldberg and how he came to be an award winning cartoonist, inventor, which eventually became an adjective in the dictionary. There is an additional and helpful timeline in the back of the book that shows his life with additional information. Neubecker's illustrations are drawn rather well, reminiscent of the cartoons that Goldberg drew himself, and depict the narrative rather well.

    The premise of the book is rather straightforward. It depicts the life of Rube Goldberg from his early childhood, he wanted to be a cartoonist, but his immigrant father wanted something more stable for him, so he went to school to become an engineer. Despite this, he got a job of a cartoonist and combined his engineering background with his artistic skills, which launched him into the mainstream and call his machines – the Rube Goldberg Machines.

    All in all,

    is a wonderful moving biography is sure to encourage young artists and inventors to pursue their dreams and passions.

  • Janie

    This is a fun, thoughtful, and very informative picture book. It taught me a lot - and I enjoyed the reading. Somehow I missed learning about Rube Goldberg. This was a quick way to catch up.

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