Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

4.0 1
by Robert Byrd
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Electric Ben is now a 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Book Award Winner, a Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book, a Horn Fanfare Book, and a  Robert F. Sibert Honor book!

“a true standout…bright, witty, informative and cleverly organized as the man himself.” – The New York Times

A true Renaissance man,

…  See more details below

Overview

Electric Ben is now a 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Book Award Winner, a Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book, a Horn Fanfare Book, and a  Robert F. Sibert Honor book!

“a true standout…bright, witty, informative and cleverly organized as the man himself.” – The New York Times

A true Renaissance man, Benjamin Franklin was the first American celebrity. In pictures and text, master artist Robert Byrd documents Franklin's numerous and diverse accomplishments, from framing the Constitution to creating bifocals. The witty, wise, and endlessly curious Franklin is the perfect subject for Byrd's lively style and vibrant art. The pages pulse with facts, quotes, and captions, while the inventive design and intricately detailed illustrations make a striking tribute to the brilliant American.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Pamela Paul
…a true standout—as bright, witty, informative and cleverly organized as the man himself—with richly detailed and colorful ink drawings, often infused with humor.
Publishers Weekly
Byrd pushes the bounds of the picture-book format in this exhaustive exploration of the life of Benjamin Franklin—dense blocks of text vie for space with Byrd's meticulously inked and detailed illustrations, as well as the many aphorisms for which Franklin is known ("An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"). There's a wealth of information to be found within, as Byrd covers Franklin's early printing days (including humorous anecdotes about pseudonymous letters and gossip he would publish), his publication of Poor Richard's Almanack, and his involvement in the scientific and political spheres. It's a fascinating and comprehensive portrait, and an asset for student research. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"A beautifully realized labor of love and affection brings to life one of our brightest founding fathers." – Kirkus Book Reviews, starred review

"...this book shimmers with excitement, begging to be read." – The Horn Book, starred review

"It's a fascinating and comprehensive portrait, and an asset for student research." – Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Large in format and ambitious in scope, this appealingly designed book spotlights Benjamin Franklin and his times." – Booklist, starred review

"Author/illustrator Robert Byrd presents highlights of the long and varied life of one of America’s most famous citizens in this picture book biography." – Library Media Connection, starred review

“a true standout…bright, witty, informative and cleverly organized as the man himself.” – The New York Times

Electric Ben is the 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Book Award Winner, a 2013 Bank Street Best Book of the Year, a 2013 Golden Kite Honor book, a Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of 2012, a 2012 Horn Fanfare Book, and a 2012 Robert F. Sibert Honor book!

Children's Literature - Miranda McClain
Everyone knows the story of the key on the kite string but Benjamin Franklin's life was full of many stories as fascinating as that legendary tale and some even more so. Robert Byrd's colorful illustrations bring Revolutionary America to life with vivid detail and at times humor. From his humble beginning as a printer's apprentice, to his rise as the most prominent citizen of Philadelphia, to his work as a foreign diplomat and amateur scientist, Ben's life is portrayed in a way that makes it easy to understand his worldwide appeal. Throughout the book quotes and phrases from Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac display his personality and wisdom. Though it may seem wordy for a picture book, it could definitely be of value in a classroom setting or school library for students assigned to do a biography or for teachers teaching the American Revolution. It could also be used when teaching about inventors. It should definitely find a place on the shelf. Reviewer: Miranda McClain
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—In the 1738 edition of Poor Richard's Almanac, Franklin printed this aphorism: "If you would not be forgotten/As soon as you are dead and rotten,/Either write things worth reading,/Or do things worth the writing." He succeeded admirably, as indicated by the ample catalog of Franklin biographies written for young readers from notables including Jean Fritz, James Cross Giblin, and Candace Fleming. Electric Ben represents a proficient but flawed addition to an already-crowded shelf. Using lucid phrasing and appealing detail, Byrd breaks the main narrative into two-page sections, each roughly related to an episode or subject. Unfortunately, excessive design elements and Byrd's fussy ink-and-watercolor illustrations threaten to overwhelm the informative text. Highlighted aphorisms and spot illustrations peppered throughout each page clutter the design and disrupt the flow of the author's readable account of Franklin's astonishingly fruitful life. The vibrant artwork shifts between intricately rendered tableaux and conceptual illustrations packed with symbols and biographical references, the latter, replete with celestial bodies and waves of energy. Finicky captions, which turn some of the electric-hued pictures into stealth diagrams, offer yet more facts and quotes. Byrd makes a few perplexing choices in his narrative, such as including only minimal mention of Franklin's wife, and identifying his illegitimate son, William, as adopted. In general, while the text may convey the wealth of Franklin's writing-worthy achievements, the visuals prove too frenetic even to capture the boundless energy and creativity of that consummate printer-author-scientist-inventor-statesman.—Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
A beautifully realized labor of love and affection brings to life one of our brightest founding fathers. Ben Franklin's multiple geniuses might be too large to be contained in a simple narrative, but Byrd finds a way to convey with warmth and enthusiasm an appreciation for the long and influential life that Franklin lived as printer, inventor and statesman. Byrd's sparkling marriage of text and illustration lowers the barriers to comprehending the brilliance, energy, passion and inventiveness of this early American phenom. Four generously wide columns across each opening offer a space for the straightforward, clear-voiced narrative accompanied by full-color, captioned artwork--sometimes several illustrations on a page--along with charming, brief inset quotations from Franklin's writings. The design evokes the two-columned early newspapers that Franklin might have known. Byrd's prose is respectful of his young readers and sophisticated at the same time, providing historical and cultural context for events and significant moments in Franklin's life and selecting from a very big life the stories that best convey a sense of the personality and character of the man. The artwork and distinctive design must stand as markers for readers who want to return to specific places in the text, as there are neither page numbers nor an index. However, a comprehensive timeline and bibliography will serve young scholars well, and the author's notes add to an understanding of both Franklin and the historical record about him. A work of breadth and energy, just like its subject; engaging and brimming with appeal for a wide audience. (Biography. 8-14)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803737495
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/13/2012
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
280,934
Product dimensions:
9.38(w) x 12.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
NC1050L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A beautifully realized labor of love and affection brings to life one of our brightest founding fathers." – Kirkus Book Reviews, starred review

"...this book shimmers with excitement, begging to be read." – The Horn Book, starred review

"It's a fascinating and comprehensive portrait, and an asset for student research." – Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Large in format and ambitious in scope, this appealingly designed book spotlights Benjamin Franklin and his times." – Booklist, starred review

"Author/illustrator Robert Byrd presents highlights of the long and varied life of one of America’s most famous citizens in this picture book biography." – Library Media Connection, starred review

“a true standout…bright, witty, informative and cleverly organized as the man himself.” – The New York Times

Electric Ben is the 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Book Award Winner, a 2013 Bank Street Best Book of the Year, a 2013 Golden Kite Honor book, a Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of 2012, a 2012 Horn Fanfare Book, and a 2012 Robert F. Sibert Honor book!

Read More

Meet the Author

Robert Byrd has been illustrating children's books for over thirty years, and his works include the Newbery Medal-winning Good Masters, Sweet Ladies. He teaches illustration in Philadelphia. He lives in Haddonfield, New Jersey, with his wife.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >