What the author describes as a scrapbook is a handsome and mesmerizing collection of biographical and often humorous anecdotes, "bits and pieces" arranged within a broader subject, starting with "Boyhood Memories," and covering all aspects of Franklin's life and career, from scientist to statesman. Copiously illustrated with portraits, cartoons, paintings, and reproductions, this browsing volume is a rich source of information about Ben and his times. You’ll find aspects of Franklin’s life and spirited opinions on such diverse subjects as being a vegetarian (page 11) naming the bald eagle as an American symbol (page 90), traveling by his wits (page 42), and even his own epitaph (page 104). For Sudoku lovers, try out his most complex magic square (page 47).
The author became interested in Franklin as a fourth grader when she read the classic novel, Ben and Me, by Robert Lawson, as told by Ben’s “good mouse Amos.” Read the two books in tandem to see how Lawson incorporated facts about Franklin into his lighthearted biographical tale.
Reviewed by JF.
Themes: BIOGRAPHY. INVENTIONS AND INVENTORS. U.S. HISTORY.
Atheneum/Anne Schwartz Books, 2003
Suggested Ages: 10 and Up