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

by Candace Fleming

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This is a picture book intended for older readers, most likely grades 5 and up. Fleming organizes biographical information about Ben Franklin in a unique and non-linear way, and balances the substantial amount of text with historical illustrations and photos of artifacts belonging to or created by Franklin. The high quality of information about Benjamin Franklin through his inventions, personality, family/social life, and political influence is deeply explored with several primary sources quoted (typically letters to and from Franklin) as well as contemporary accounts about Franklin. However, the dense and long text, although broken up by the illustrations makes this a substantial read and the vocabulary level is at a middle grade level. It would be a valuable choice for biography projects and for a child interested in American history or in learning more about one of Franklin's inventions. ( )
  daisyacg | May 17, 2012 |
Fleming, C. (2003). Ben Franklin’s almanac: Being a true account of the good gentleman’s life. New York, NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Fleming used Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac to create her nontraditional biography. Instead of providing a chronological account, she divides the book into several chapters, including Boyhood Memories, the Writer’s Journal, the Scientist’s Scrapbook, and Revolution memorabilia. Readers could read all sections or just some of them. Each chapter provides a glimpse into Franklin’s life and reveals his varied interests. Portraits, etchings, cartoons, sketches, and photographs of documents surround each two-page spread. These visuals and anecdotes answer Franklin’s question: “What good shall I do today?”

Franklin’s life is sure to engage child in some way—whether it is his love for writing, his witty sayings, his love affair, his humor, or his inventions. By examining Franklin’s life, readers can see how he influenced today’s society. He discovered that lightning and electricity was the same thing; he invented bifocals; he created the first electric generator; he suggested to his friend Noah Webster to publish a book on word usage, which became Webster’s dictionary; and he played a significant role in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

The visuals along with an extensive bibliography for each chapter and a list of picture sources provide evidence of documentation and authenticity. The use text and images help readers to “discover Ben” in a personable way. Through her biography, readers will see his multifaceted character.

I really enjoyed Ben Franklin’s Almanac because it gave me snapshots into his life. I felt like I was going through an actual scrapbook. The maps, letters, and artwork brought me face-to-face with history. The book successfully “helped [me] to connect with Ben the person, rather than just a name and dates.” It is an interesting biography and unique in its presentation of information. Highly recommended.
  ewang109 | Aug 13, 2010 |
3starP ( )
  kellyas | May 30, 2010 |
CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 2004)
Candace Fleming's fascinating portrait of a most intriguing figure in American history is inspired by Franklin's own Poor Richard's Almanack. Each two-page spread, designed to look like an almanac entry, engages readers in a particular aspect of Franklin's life. Freed from a chronological arrangement, readers can choose to dabble at will, or read from cover to cover. Either way, Franklin emerges as a complex individual of conviction and foible, a man who cared deeply for liberty, had a brilliant mind for science, and flirted and fawned (at the very least) with pretty girls. Easy-to-follow, detailed notes at the end of the volume provide the source for every item of the book's illustrated matter, which ranges from reproductions of etchings, engraving, and woodcuts, to photographs of documents and objects, to paintings that interpret historical events. There is also an extensive bibliography and and index to round out this captivating volume. CCBC categories: Biography and Autobiography. 2003, An Anne Schwartz Book / Atheneum, 120 pages, $19.95. Ages 10 and older. ( )
  KRaimont | May 26, 2007 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
A small town by modern standards, Boston was a bustling center of Colonial America.
Quotations
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half-shut afterwards.
If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.
Maxims of Poor Richard:
There are no gains without pains.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
God helps those who help themselves.
Who is wise? He that learns from everyone.
Who is powerful? He that governs his passion.
Who is rich? He that is content.
Who is that? Nobody.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689835493, Hardcover)

"What good shall I do today?"

How Ben Franklin answered that question -- through his work as a writer, printer, statesman, and inventor -- forever established him as one of America's greatest figures. On one day in 1729 he published the first edition of the Pennsylvania Gazette; on another day he changed the Declaration of Independence by adding the famous words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident"; and it was all in a day's work when he planted the first willow trees in America.

Modeled on his own Poor Richard's Almanack, this unique scrapbook captures Franklin's countless accomplishments. Biography and anecdote, cartoon and etching mesh to create a fascinating portrait of this most fascinating man. Anyone interested in the birth of American democracy...or curious about the rise of the U.S. postal system...or wondering how paper money came to be...or wanting to know how Ben Franklin was part of it all, is sure to pore over Ben Franklin's Almanac.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:39 -0400)

Brings together eighteenth century etchings, artifacts, and quotations to create the effect of a scrapbook of the life of Benjamin Franklin.

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