Franklin had been studying electricity for some time by 1792. He could create electricity and store it in a glass-and-metal Leyden jar. He had done experiments to discover which materials were good conductors of electricity (metal and water) and which ones would slow or block the current (glass, silk, feathers). He was convinced that lightening was electricity and he was trying to figure out a way to prove his theory. He decided to make a kite of silk and cedar wood. During the next storm, he and his twenty-one-year-old son took the kite and a key and ran to a nearby barn. They got the kite into the air and then felt the metal key. At first they were disappointed. Then they felt the weak electrical shock. Franklin was elated. He immediately constructed a lightening rod for his own home and after proving its worth there, he made rods for many other buildings in Philadelphia. Colorful pictures depict Franklin as an active older man with gray hair and spectacles. A glossary, a list of suggestions for further reading, and some recommended web sites will enable young researchers to find further information. A nice addition for primary school units on electricity and how it works. This is part of the "On My Own Science" series. 2006, Millbrook Press, Ages 6 to 10.
Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-These beginning readers are physically attractive, with large, competently done, full-color art, but they don't contain much factual information or cover any new territory. Jango-Cohen devotes all 48 pages to imagining what it might have been like for Franklin to discover that lightning is electricity with his legendary kite experiment, yet this is a tiny part of his amazing and varied life. The book is catalogued as nonfiction, but it is heavily fictionalized. Ransom covers four months in 1608 during the very beginnings of the settlement of Jamestown, VA. Although Sam was a real person who worked for John Smith, the story imagines what may have happened to him in these early days. The one-page afterword gives much more actual information about the colony's progress and the boy's fate, all of which would have made this book more interesting and informative had it been explored further. Stick with Rosalyn Schanzer's How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning (HarperCollins, 2003), Jean Fritz's What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin? (Putnam, 1976), James Cross Giblin's The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin (Scholastic, 2000), or Elizabeth A. Campbell's Jamestown: The Beginning (Little, Brown, 1974; o.p.).-Kate Kohlbeck, Randall School, Waukesha, WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.