The Boy Who Thought Outside the Box

The Story of Video Game Inventor Ralph Baer

By Marcie Wessels (Author), Beatriz Castro (Illustrator)

Series People Who Shaped Our World


Pub Date 5/12/2020

ISBN 9781454932598

Format Hardcover Picture Book



The Boy Who Thought Outside the Box

The Story of Video Game Inventor Ralph Baer

by Marcie Wessels, Beatriz Castro
Crazy about Wii, Nintendo, X-Box, and PlayStation? Meet the inventor whose work made them all possible: Ralph Baer, creator of the first home video game system!
Today, the video game industry keeps growing, with ever more platforms available to fans. But how did the very first system come about? This picture-book biography of Ralph Baer, whose family fled Nazi Germany for the US, introduces kids to a great inventor AND the birth of the first home console. Using wartime technology, Baer thought outside the box and transformed the television into a vehicle for gaming; Baer's invention, the Odyssey, is a precursor to the Atari gaming system. Today, interactive systems like Wii and PlayStation are descendants of Ralph’s innovative “Brown Box,” making this award-winning inventor the true “Father of Video Games.”

"Wessels’ clear, flowing text provides a bounty of information on Ralph’s life, inspiration, and thought process, detailing his contagious excitement and thoughtful perseverance. A nice portrait of a lesser-known inventor whose work has had a tremendous influence on our modern-day world."—Booklist


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“A personable and energetic introduction with a positive message.” – Kirkus 

“A gentle introduction to a passionate inventor’s incredible impact on our culture. Young gamers will get a kick out of their beloved systems’ humble beginnings.” – School Library Journal

“Wessels’s unabashed fandom will appeal to the like-minded. Castro’s illustrations combine cartoonish exaggeration with realistic details, including plenty of tubes and plugs, to depict Baer’s journey.” – Publishers Weekly -

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Marcie Wessels is the author of Pirate’s Lullaby: Mutiny at Bedtime. She has a PhD in Latin American Literature from Tulane University. Previously she taught Spanish Language and Literature at the University of San Diego. She lives in San Diego, CA.

Beatriz Castro born in Logroño, La Rioja, Spain. After graduating from the School of Arts in Logroño in 2008, she embarked on a career as a professional illustrator. Her art has appeared on covers and in books produced by international publishers. Beatriz lives in her native town with her family.

Title Details

Pages 48 pages, all in color

Trim 8.5 x 10.8 x 0 Inches

Territories World

Category Picture Books

Age Range 5 and up