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Ben Franklin's Almanac: Being a True Account of the Good Gentleman's Life Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 1000L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689835493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689835490
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9-In her introduction, Fleming says that she set out to write a straightforward biography of one of America's most forward-thinking and inventive statesmen but found the form to be too restrictive and not true to Franklin's wide-ranging interests and accomplishments. She has written instead a compendium of "-bits and pieces by subject" put into eight chapters with headings such as "Boyhood Memories" and "Tokens of a Well-Lived Life." In scrapbook style, the chapters are centered around excellent-quality visuals-portraits, etchings, cartoons, and sketches-linked together with engrossing text and numerous nuggets of Franklin's prose, which include his reminiscences and observations. The result is an authoritative work of depth, humor, and interest, presenting Franklin in all his complexity, ranging from the heroic to the vulgar, the saintly to the callous. Read cover to cover, the book gives a three-dimensional picture of a life, but it is equally good for dipping into and turning up the interesting anecdote or bit of wisdom, thus appealing to both serious readers and browsers. Beginning with a year-by-year chronology, the volume also includes lengthy bibliographies, a list of picture sources, Web sites, and a thorough index. Reminiscent of Franklin's own Poor Richard's Almanack, this book is a superlative example of the biographer's craft and a fitting tribute to the gentleman himself.
Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-9. There's no shortage of books on Franklin, but this biography, which springs from Fleming's lifelong fascination with the multitalented man, is unlike anything that has come before, and it bears no resemblance to Fleming's picture-book work. Designed more like a scrapbook than an almanac, it's a visually rich but densely packed amalgamation of anecdotal narrative, boxed insets, black-and-white reproductions of period documents and artwork, and material obtained from Franklin's personal papers--all organized into topical chapters on Franklin's family life, writings, scientific pursuits, and political involvement. The whole gives an excellent sense of the time in which Franklin lived, but the thematic organization here sacrifices continuity and leaves occasional gaps. The science section is perhaps the best as it falls neatly into invention-specific discussions. Lively anecdotes greatly expand the main text, and numerous quotes by and about Franklin give the man a truly human face, even as they raise questions that continue to puzzle historians. A fitting tribute to a "good gentleman" whose life was well and energetically lived. Web sites and further readings are appended. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Ben's words are funny and clever, and his patriotism is serious and unwavering.
Lisa Johannes
Very easily written and keeping with the mind of a young child, the information is easy to understand and follow.
kim
Candace Fleming allows us to explore Franklin's extraordinary life in a new way.
KidsReads

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Richie Partington VINE VOICE on November 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Ben's Rules for Being a Better Writer
"Everyone, Ben believed, had a need to communicate well. Over the years he developed and stuck to these writing rules.
"Good writing should be smooth, clear, and short, and the art of saying little in much must be avoided at all costs. In written discourse, every needless thing gives offense and must be eliminated...Had this always been done, many large and tiresome volumes would have shrunk into pamphlets, and many a pamphlet into a single period."
It seems like a stream of new Benjamin Franklin biographies make their appearance as steadily as the changing of the seasons. That perception has caused my building a healthy skepticism concerning the need for just one more. But Candace Fleming has taken Ben's writing rules to heart. Less is more in BEN FRANKLIN'S ALMANAC, Fleming's continually entertaining and enlightening collection of quotes, anecdotes, illustrations, American history, and other tasty tidbits (including the occasional fish story) that the author has harvested from original source materials.
Rather than assembling a typical chronological tome, Fleming has grouped this assortment of goodies into an eye-catching patchwork format that is clumped around eight themes: Boyhood Memories, The Family Album, The Writer's Journal, Tokens of a Well-Lived Life, The Scientist's Scrapbook, Revolutionary Memorabilia, Souvenirs from France, and Final Remembrances.
"All his life Ben tried to do what was right. His daily routine reminded him to put mankind's problems before his own.
"I rose at five each morning, and addressed Powerful Goodness [Ben's name for God] with the same question: What Good Shall I Do Today?
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This account of Franklin's life holds a little over a hundred pages, and has good large print and fine pictures to offset the many words from Franklin's own almanac which offers a scrapbook of his accomplishments. Modeled on his Poor Richard's Almanack but revised for younger audiences, this blends biography and observation with cartoons, etchings, and other illustrations to create a lively coverage for kids with good reading skills.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on July 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It isn't often that we are lucky enough to learn about a man who had the curiosity of a child and the mind of a genius, who loved learning and was able to find humor in all types of situations. Benjamin Franklin was such a man.
Candace Fleming allows us to explore Franklin's extraordinary life in a new way. She has chosen to present Franklin's life in the form of a scrapbook or almanac, rather than a traditional biography. Franklin in fact gained a good portion of his original popularity by publishing an almanac himself titled POOR RICHARD'S ALMANAC. It is perhaps only fitting that his life be presented in the form of an almanac as well.
It is quite astonishing to discover within the pages of this remarkable book how much Franklin accomplished in his lifetime. In addition to his electrical experiments involving kites, Franklin organized the first real postal system in the thirteen colonies, printed the first paper money, and saw years before anyone else that the American Revolution was going to happen. He also recognized that slavery would be an issue that would not go away; he knew that one day it would be a problem for the people of the United States.
One of the wonderful things about this book is that you can pick it up and dip into the pages at random --- and once you pick it up, you cannot put it down. Resembling an almanac or scrapbook with an old-fashioned looking script, pictures, photographs, copies of letters and other documents, BEN FRANKLIN'S ALMANAC is a refreshing new look at the life of one of America's greatest men. We are able to marvel and sometimes smile at the things Benjamin Franklin did and said. Surely, such a lover of books would be proud of this gem.
--- Reviewed by Marya Jansen-Gruber
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By laurie freeman on March 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book!!!

I learned so much from this book, and I bought it for my kids. I would recommend it to any one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Johannes on October 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Each day Benjamin Franklin wakes up, says a prayer, and asks himself, "What good shall I do today?" Candace Fleming's biography of Ben, as presented in the form and style (page structure and font) of Franklin's own Almanac, tells us how Ben answered that daily question.
More than just a statesman who assisted the Continental Congress in going to war with England, gaining the support of France, and eventually co-authoring the Declaration of Independence, Franklin was an inventor, scientist, father, husband, friend, and celebrity.
True stories of his famous kite experience, how the public library actually came about, and his unusual relationships with his children and wife are exposed, as are stories of his penchant for writing and word play (Webster's first dictionary was dedicated to him) and a list of the thirteen traits he believes makes a man perfect. Ben's words are funny and clever, and his patriotism is serious and unwavering. This book leaves the reader wondering how any one human could accomplish so much within a single lifetime.
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