Great Illustrated Books

Ben Franklin's Almanac: Being a True Account of the Good Gentleman's Life

By Candace Fleming

Atheneum/Anne Schwartz Books, 2003
Pages : 128
Suggested Ages: 10 and Up
ISBN: 9780439669566

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.


If you love this book, then try:

Adler, David A. B. Franklin, Printer. Holiday House, 2001. ISBN-13: 9780823416752

Byrd, Robert. Leonardo, Beautiful Dreamer. Dutton, 2003. ISBN-13: 9780525470335

Delano, Marie Ferguson. Inventing the Future: A Photobiography of Thomas Alva Edison. National Geographic, 2002. ISBN-13: 9780792259343

Fleming, Candace. The Hatmaker's Sign: A Story by Benjamin Franklin. Orchard, 1998. ISBN-13: 9780531300756

Fleming, Candace. The Lincolns. Atheneum, 2008. ISBN-13: 9780375936180

Fleming, Candace. Our Eleanor. Atheneum, 2005. ISBN-13: 9780689865442

Fritz, Jean. What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin? Coward, 1976. ISBN-13: 9780698113725

Giblin, James Cross. The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin. Scholastic, 2000. ISBN-13: 9780439810654

Gutman, Dan. Qwerty Stevens, Stuck in Time with Benjamin Franklin. Simon & Schuster, 2002. ISBN-13: 9780689878848

Lawson, Robert. Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos. Little, Brown, 1939. ISBN-13: 9780316517300

Schanzer, Rosalyn. How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning. HarperCollins, 2003. ISBN-13: 9780688169930

St. George, Judith. So You Want to Be an Inventor? Philomel, 2002. ISBN-13: 9780142404607

Critics have said

Reminiscent of Franklin's own Poor Richard's Almanack, this book is a superlative example of the biographer's craft and a fitting tribute to the gentleman himself.
Ann Welton, School Library Journal

A fitting tribute to a "good gentleman" whose life was well and energetically lived. Web sites and further readings are appended.
Stephanie Zvirin, Booklist

Franklin is at his most fascinating and delightful in Candace Fleming's neatly conceived new biography.
Elizabeth Crow, The New York Times

While the volume's layout encourages readers to dip in and out, Fleming delivers a cohesive and complex portrait of a brilliant, productive and shrewd man who helped shape this country.
Publishers Weekly