Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

5.0 3
by Kathleen Krull, Boris Kulikov
     
 

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Sure, almost all kids know Benjamin Franklin as one of America’s Founding Fathers, a man with a hand in both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. And they may even have some vague idea that he once flew a kite during a lightning storm. What Kathleen Krull sets out to do in this very different biography is show Ben Franklin the

Overview

Sure, almost all kids know Benjamin Franklin as one of America’s Founding Fathers, a man with a hand in both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. And they may even have some vague idea that he once flew a kite during a lightning storm. What Kathleen Krull sets out to do in this very different biography is show Ben Franklin the “natural philosopher” (the term for scientists back in the 1700s), whose experiments led to important discoveries about the nature of electricity—including his famous demonstration that electricity and lightning were one and the same.

As always, this much-lauded series presents a true Giant of Science in a juicily anecdotal way. This is social history at its best. . . . who knew that Franklin became such a megastar that Paris shops sold Ben dolls, Ben ashtrays, even Ben wallpaper?

Witty and engaging, this is a worthy addition to the Giants of Science series.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sylvia Firth
Unlike most other biographies of Franklin, this volume of the "Giants of Science" series focuses on his many scientific achievements. In fact, Franklin was fascinated by what in his time, was called "natural philosophy." The terms "science" and "scientist" were not known in the eighteenth century. Franklin devoted much time and effort to observing and experimenting in many areas that led to important discoveries. Numerous ocean voyages resulted in his charting and naming the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic. His love of music led to the invention of a unique glass instrument he named the armonica. When Franklin's eyesight dimmed with advancing age, he disliked having to switch between glasses for distance and those for doing close up tasks. So, using a glass cutting tool, he cut both sets of lenses in half and glued them together to make the top for seeing far and the bottom for near vision. Franklin also came up with the premise that wearing light colors in warm weather helped keep one cooler because they absorbed less sunlight. Perhaps his greatest identification involved proving that lightning and electricity were identical. Kulikov's pen-and-ink drawings really capture Franklin's humor and great intelligence, enhancing the whole presentation. Teachers will find this text, which includes a bibliography, a list of websites, and an index, useful in science class. Pair it with Electric Ben by Robert Byrd for more depth. Youngsters should also enjoy reading the book on their own or for a biography assignment. Definitely consider this as a "first purchase" item. Reviewer: Sylvia Firth
School Library Journal
12/01/2013
Gr 4–6—In this volume in the series, Krull focuses on Franklin's passion for science and his drive to make scientific knowledge useful in everyday life. Despite the fact that his achievements as a statesman were more extensive ("a list of Franklin's political achievements would fill a bigger book"), he viewed science as his true calling. In a lively, even "gossipy," style, the author emphasizes Franklin's experiments—for example, investigating the flow of warm and cold air, electricity, health, optics—and the resulting useful applications—the Franklin stove, the lightning rod, the cure for scurvy, bifocals. Krull's forte is to connect what readers know with what they are learning. She tells them that Franklin was a "superb networker," making connections with the best-known thinkers of his day. In fact, he developed his own "information superhighway." Kulikov's pen-and-ink illustrations support Krull's friendly approach, showing a young Franklin being propelled across a pond by a kite and an older Franklin enjoying a bath in his portable tub while engaged in conversation. For teachers and librarians looking for text sets that discuss point of view or the style and organization of information, this book can be effectively combined with Robert Byrd's Electric Ben (Dial, 2012), Candace Fleming's Ben Franklin's Almanac (S & S, 2003), and David A. Adler's B. Franklin, Printer (Holiday House, 2001).—Myra Zarnowski, City University of New York

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101594087
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
08/29/2013
Series:
Giants of Science Series
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
1,043,115
Lexile:
1140L (what's this?)
File size:
6 MB
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Kathleen Krull, the noted social historian, lives in San Diego, California.

Boris Kulikov, the illustrator of this series, lives in New York City.

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Benjamin Franklin 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every thing you might possibly need information about
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perfect
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found that this story will change your opinion about history. It tells the real facts in the most appropriote ways- war, wounds, ect. This story is also very well done for kids the age of 10 to adulthood.