Title: Benjamin FranklinBenjamin Franklin [Illustrated Lives]
Author: Jack Kelly
Illustrator: Ortiz Tafalla
Pages: 240
Recommended Ages: 8-12
Star Rating: ★★★★

This is the sixth biography of Benjamin Franklin which I have had the pleasure of reviewing. And I’d say that keeping in mind its limitations and goals, it was as fine as the rest. It did not have the intellectual air of Benjamin Franklin [Deborah Kent] and even Ben Franklin of Old Philadelphia had a slightly less childish tone, but neither contained more biographical information.

Both of those mentioned, however, might please a slightly older audience (although it was written for a similar one), because whatever pictures they have are either of artifacts or are paintings and portraits, while this book had normal looking black and white illustrations every few pages.

Here’s a list of B. Franklin biographies from best / most recommended to least.

  1. Benjamin Franklin {Heroes of America} by Jack Kelly
  2. The Story of Benjamin Franklin by Margaret Davidson
  3. Meet Benjamin Franklin by Maggi Scarf

The 1700s are referred to as the Enlightment, which is described as

A time in which scientific knowledge expanded very rapidly both in Europe and America. People still believed in God, but religion began to play a less important role in daily life. People believed that doing good works and learning about nature was more important than listening to preachers. Superstition began to die out. Education came to be seen as avery important for everyone, not just for scholars. [pg. 104]

It is mention that “in 1730, Ben and Deborah Read moved in together and she became his wife. They couldn’t get married in a church because they weren’t sure if her first husband was dead or alive.” [pg. 92] Also, on page 160, we are told that William Franklin had a son but the name of his mother isn’t known. This may prompt children’s curiosity as to why the mother’s name isn’t known…

Various character lessons which Benjamin learned are constructively recounted.

Conclusion. Good. I have a few other Heroes of America biographies which I hope to review soon.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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