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Children's LiteratureMcDonough and Zeldis offer a very readable, engrossing introduction to this important figure in American history. They trace his life from childhood through his schooling, his apprenticeship in his brother's print shop, and the start of his writing career. He begins his own printing business, starts a family, writes Poor Richard's Almanack, establishes the country's first lending library, a volunteer fire department, and an academy which becomes the University of Pennsylvania. As postmaster he sets up mail routes. He explores electricity and makes many scientific advances. Politics takes over his life during the Revolution; he travels to France for the cause. He even tries to outlaw slavery before his much-mourned death. Zeldis creates intensely colored gouache paintings in a folk-like style, detailing some of the settings of this rather lengthy biography. She depicts his association with both historic and personal events. We are shown his successful use of lightning rods on town buildings, for example, as well as a full-length portrait of him playing the violin. Also included are a time line of his life, a list of some of his inventions, some sayings from Poor Richard's Almanack, and a bibliography. 2006, Henry Holt and Company, Ages 5 to 9.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz