Children's LiteratureBack in 1792, Benjamin Franklin was studying the electricity made by lightening and thinking about how it could be diverted to save homes and other buildings. Fortunately, his faithful teddy bear had been making a kite with cedar wood and silk. Using this kite and the key to the pantry (much to the bear's dismay as his jam was locked inside), Franklin and the bear discovered that, indeed, the lightning was attracted to the metal key. Thus, he invented the lightening rod, explaining the steps to his bear as he worked. The big test comes during the next storm. A lightening rod must be attached to the church steeple. Franklin sends his trusty bear up with the kite. The rod is attached and the church is saved. Pages at the end depict examples of things that use electricity, some rules about using electricity, an experiment with "static electricity," some directions for making a musical instrument with glasses and water, and pictures of some of Franklin's other inventions. The colorful illustrations depict a young Ben Franklin with brown hair and an athletic build. The teddy bear is cute and cuddly. The story may be interesting for young children, but its distortion of historical facts limits its use for instruction. 2006, Go Bananas/Crabtree, and Ages 4 to 6.
Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.