Ben the Inventor

Overview

Inventors invent inventions! That's what Ben and his best friend Jack like to say. So when Ben discovers that Jack's family is planning to move to another city, he decides they should put their inventions to work. The boys figure that if no one buys Jack's house, Jack won't have to move away, so all they need is a plan to scare off potential buyers! Inventors are good at coming up with plans. But when Plans A, B and C fail to bring the results the boys had hoped for, Ben discovers that not everything in life ...

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Ben the Inventor

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Overview

Inventors invent inventions! That's what Ben and his best friend Jack like to say. So when Ben discovers that Jack's family is planning to move to another city, he decides they should put their inventions to work. The boys figure that if no one buys Jack's house, Jack won't have to move away, so all they need is a plan to scare off potential buyers! Inventors are good at coming up with plans. But when Plans A, B and C fail to bring the results the boys had hoped for, Ben discovers that not everything in life stays the same—and that while change can be hard, sometimes it isn't all bad.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist Online
"Humorous yet poignant, this story highlights the friendship and creativity of two endearing characters...Faithful to the hopes and fears of young children and enhanced with fine pencil drawings, Stevenson's second chapter book about Ben rings true for anyone who has had a friend move away."
Resource Links
"A delightful story about best friends and shared visions...Stevenson's message provides comfort while demonstrating problem solving techniques to keep friendship alive even at a distance."
Library Media Connection
"This book gives early readers an extended reading experience; short chapters provide quick success in reading and make the book easy to read in installments...Children who face a move will find comfort in this enjoyable story of friendship. Young inventors might get some ideas too."
Children's Literature - Sara Lorimer
Ben and Jack are best friends and across-the-street neighbors. Jack's mother has a new job that will require them to move to Vancouver, and she has put their house up for sale. Ben and Jack, self-styled inventors, decide to foil the sale of the house to prevent Jack's move. Using the catapult they invented—the only invention that shows up in the book, despite the title—they attempt to fling weeds into Jack's yard to make the house look run-down and undesirable. The catapult fails to launch, so instead the boys spread armfuls of dandelions on the grass. This is about as exciting as the book gets. It is repetitive and has a tone of anxiety. The characters' catchphrases, especially "fire-bellied toads," quickly become annoying. Some interesting ideas are raised but quickly dropped, such as Jack being homeschooled and the inventions in which they are interested. It is a perfectly competent book, but lacks something special. Reviewer: Sara Lorimer
Kirkus Reviews
Ben and his best friend Jack face a crisis: Jack is moving away. Perhaps the wily pair can invent some way to prevent that? Ben and Jack live across the street from each other; a speed bump connects their houses and, seemingly, their hearts. When the "for sale" sign appears in Jack's front yard, its threat seems dire. "Inventors invent inventions," the two grade-schoolers like to say. So they begin to construct a giant catapult to shoot dead weeds into Jack's front yard to discourage buyers. If that fails, they can resort to Plans B or C. All of their plans share a common feature, a quality of dreaming and scheming that seems perfectly age appropriate: Not too well thought out, but very imaginative. Taking into consideration the controlled vocabulary of this effort geared toward readers transitioning to chapter books, Ben and Jack exchange a lot of believable dialogue, but neither of their characters is particularly distinguishable from the other. Attractive, cheerful black-and-white full-page illustrations appear every few pages. While having a new friend ever-so-conveniently move into Jack's house after he leaves seems like a too-easy resolution, everything about this effort is charmingly upbeat. This easy read only lightly deals with a common childhood issue, and its winsome attitude makes it fun. (Fiction. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554698028
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Series: Orca Echoes Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 811,779
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 440L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Stevenson is the author of multiple books for children and teens. She spends most of her time writing, hanging out with her homeschooled son, and teaching creative writing to adults, teens and kids. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia, with her family. For more information, visit www.robinstevenson.com. Robin loves to hear from readers—and she always writes back.

David Parkins has illustrated numerous children’s books. He also does editorial illustrations, political cartoons, and strip cartoons. David lives in Lansdowne, Ontario. For more information, visit www.davidparkins.com.

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Read an Excerpt

It is amazing, Ben thought, how much good stuff people throw out. He knew something most grown-ups didn't know: Junk plus Imagination equaled Great Inventions. The Great Invention he and Jack were working on at the moment was a catapult. Ben dragged an old shovel and a flat piece of wood out of the shed.

"Yeah!" Jack said. He grabbed a piece of wire. "Let's use this."

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