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The Remarkable Benjamin Franklin Paperback – September 23, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5–An inviting introduction to the varied and unique life of this fascinating Founding Father. Beginning with Franklin's birth, Harness explores the activities that filled his days from his quest to open his own print shop to his role in the American Revolution to his personal intrigues and inventions. Her conversational writing style and vivid illustrations will appeal to readers just becoming acquainted with this important figure. Done in watercolor, gouache, ink, and colored pencil, the detailed paintings create a strong sense of time and place, and Franklin's facial expressions convey emotions described in the text. Pertinent quotes from his writings appear on almost every page. A detailed time line helps place his story in context and fleshes out the specifics of his life. This colorful book provides an enticing glimpse at Franklin's philosophies and accomplishments. Youngsters interested in a more comprehensive account can be referred to David A. Adler's excellent B. Franklin, Printer (Holiday House, 2001) and Candace Fleming's inviting Ben Franklin's Almanac (S & S, 2003).–Deanna Romriell, Salt Lake City Library, UT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Those seeking a comprehensive biography for picture-book audiences need look no further than Harness' The Remarkable Benjamin Franklin (2005), which showcases the talent for creatively distilling famous lives that marked her previous six picture books about great Americans. Buttressed by humanizing details, such as the young Franklin's dissatisfaction with his printing apprenticeship under a "bossy" elder brother, Harness swiftly covers Franklin's childhood and early adulthood. The remainder of the book is devoted to Franklin's wide-ranging political roles, with brief references to his scientific activities and the shadowy details of his private life (regarding his illegitimate son: "Who was William's mother? That has been a mystery for nearly 300 years"). Much of this information can be found in competing picture-book biographies, but the striking visual presentation, yoking together detailed watercolors, creatively placed quotes and captions, and text in an evocative letterpress typeface, helps this rise above the merely functional. End matter consists of an extensive time line followed by a page crammed cheek-to-jowl with minute source documentation, suggestions for further research, and copyright details. Much like Fleming's Ben Franklin's Almanac, for older readers, the impression is of enthusiasms, barely contained--an apt simulacrum of Franklin's fizzing intellect. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books; Reprint edition (September 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426302975
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426302978
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.1 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #862,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cheryl Harness makes her home in Independence, Missouri, the "Queen City of the Trails," a couple of blocks away from the big white house where Harry and Bess Truman used to live. She lives with Mimi (a black and white Shih Tsu)), and Merrie Emma (a cross-eyed scaredy-cat). As an author, illustrator, public speaker, and presenter in many an elementary school, Cheryl is known for her engaging, entertaining approach to history, her detailed watercolors, and the way she plays her harmonica.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I disagree with the reviewer who said this read like a textbook. We are homeschoolers and I tend to avoid textbooks and seek out books that instead can offer my children the information I want them to learn in a fun and engaging way. My children and I read nearly a dozen books about Ben Franklin while doing a unit study on him. We got something out of each of the books but this one offered some of the most detailed stories of Ben. Both my sons, ages 9 and 5, and I all enjoyed this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Author-Illustrator Cheryl Harness does a fantastic job with the artwork in this book. Each page is covered with gorgeous, colorful, relevant pictures from top to bottom.

Unfortunately, even the wonderful illustrations cannot bring the horribly dry text to life. It reads like a text book or encyclopedia entry. Franklin's life was anything but dull. Yet this story of his life drags and bores readers.

I recommend Benjamin Franklin: A Man of Many Talents from the Time For Kids Biographies series as a much better written and more interesting alternative to The Remarkable Benjamin Franklin.
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Format: Paperback
We have a school project on the American Revolution and my son was lucky enough to get Ben Franklin as his person to research. I've read quite a few books for 9-12 years old on Ben Franklin at this point. This one is one of the very best. Historically accurate without going into too much depth on some topics, interesting author insights, such as this quote, "He soon made one of the happiest discoveries any person can make: He and his work were a perfect fit." (p.6). I love how the author added both Poor Richard and Ben Franklin quotes that still ring true today and all of the great illustrations. I had not yet seen this Poor Richard quote, " Who is strong? He that con conquer his bad habits." Indeed! Well worth the reading time, even for adults. The cost of birthing our great country was not small and you can understand more of the cost from this story and the absolute courage of all signers of the Declaration of Independence.
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