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Grade 3-5-This is an often funny, always engaging introduction to one of America's most fascinating founding fathers. Franklin is affectionately and respectfully depicted as a man of insatiable intellectual curiosity with a tireless creative and inventive mind who played indispensable roles in the War for Independence and the establishment of the U.S. government. Fradin's anecdotal presentation describes all of the important contributions and inventions the man gave to the world: a national postal system, the first public library, the first volunteer fire department, bifocals, the Franklin stove, the lightning rod, and his revolutionary experiments with electricity. His public service on behalf of the Continental Congress as a diplomat and representative, and his contributions to the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution also receive significant attention. The discussions of Franklin's childhood growing up as one of 17 children and his relationship with his son William who stayed loyal to England during the War for Independence add an interesting personal dimension. Readers are left with an impression of a man of almost unfathomable genius whose many astonishing contributions to American culture, politics, society, and science still profoundly affect us. O'Brien's black-and-white amusing cartoon illustrations are an effective complement to the lighthearted text. A fun, informative introductory biography that will inspire many readers to learn more about this fascinating man.
Edward Sullivan, White Pine School, TN
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3-5. Few historic figures have led a life as varied and interesting as Benjamin Franklin's. From chasing a twister to helping write the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Franklin's career was anything but dry and dusty. But in an attempt to make the fascinating material readable for third-graders, Fradin has sacrificed his usual smooth writing style. Here, the sentences are choppy, abrupt, and frequently interrupted by drawings. The sequence of events wanders considerably, as well, which will make it difficult for younger students to follow along. The cover is comically enticing, and there are plenty of small, lively, black-and-white sketches, including scenes from the text and labeled diagrams of typesetting. A time line is appended, but there are no notes, bibliography, or index. This is only for libraries needing additional material. Susan Dove Lempke
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