Children's Literature - Marilyn CourtotMany books have been written about Benjamin Franklin, an American icon, and some are more readable and enjoyable than others. Happily, Hal Marcovitz has an engaging writing style and still manages to cram in a lot of facts about this great man's life in a book of less than 200 pages. He takes a chronological approach, and kids may be amazed to learn that this scientist, inventor, printer and statesman had less than three years of formal schooling. What he did have was an insatiable desire to learn, to increase his vocabulary, writing skills, and knowledge of how things work. It was amusing to read about his bed sharing experience with John Adams who had a cold, and Franklin's belief that germs not cold air were responsible for the malady. Along with the facts of Franklin's life, Marcovitz intersperses these kinds of details to let readers see the more human side of Franklin. Also since this is a book geared to the classroom, at the end of each chapter there are a series of questions"Test Your Knowledge" multiple choice questions with answers. They reinforce what has been presented. The text is accompanied by drawings and other illustrations to make it more appealing. Some facts were new to me, such as Franklin's development of a mathematical puzzle called a magic square. Given the current Sudoku craze, kids may find this puzzle of Franklin's quite interesting. The book concludes with a chronology and time line, notes that are associated with the footnote numbers, a reasonably comprehensive bibliography and list of further readings, a comprehensive index, picture credits, and a brief blurb about the author. A very readable title in the "Leaders of the American Revolution" series.
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