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Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin
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Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  371 ratings  ·  129 reviews
A picture-book biography of a fascinating Founding Father

A true Renaissance man, Benjamin Franklin was the first American celebrity. In pictures and text, master artist Robert Byrd documents Franklin's numerous and diverse accomplishments, from framing the Constitution to creating bifocals.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 13th 2012 by Dial Books
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Maureen Houston
In this informative book all about the life and accomplishments of Benjamin Franklin, author Robert Byrd uses text and vibrant art to show the many ways Ben Franklin contributed to American history. He was a printer, writer, publisher, inventor, and founding Father of the new American nation. Most famous for his interest in electricity, Ben was also a man with many other interests.

This book was an honor recipient of the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal. Recommended for grades K-3, stud
Monica Edinger
Since Bob is illustrating my book (love being able to write that:) I don't claim to be objective. That said, I think this is a lovely, interesting, and beautifully done book about Ben Franklin. It is well-researched, concisely and clearly written, and of course exquisitely-illustrated; I like the way Bob folds Franklin's life and work into the greater American history story going on around him. And I have to say, there can never be too many Franklin books for kids --- reading this one reminded m ...more
Although some readers may be turned off by the small font size and the book's use of several columns of type to emulate the broadsides and newspapers of the early colonial period, I found them appealing. Not only do they put the subject of this lively biography in the proper context, given that he was a newspaper man, but they allow readers to have a taste of what Poor Richard's Almanack looked like. By the time the book's final page has been reached, readers will have amassed quite a few intere ...more

Byrd, Robert. Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012. Print. 40 p.

A biography of Benjamin Franklin for older children, this oversized volume is stylized in a way to catch the attention of reluctant readers. The bulk of the text is displayed on pages made to appear like it might in the past, on off-white, textured looking pages. The many intricate illustrations throughout give readers an added sense of the time and plac
Audience: Primary (grades 4-6)

Genre: Nonfiction

Fiction Twin Text: Ben Franklin's War by Stephen Eaton Hume

Ben Franklin's War is the best fiction twin text for Electric Ben because it shows Ben Franklin on an adventure to convince Canada to join the United States against Britain in the great war for independence. Unfortunately his plan goes awry and Franklin is captured. A group of orphans, including a deaf boy named Michael Flynn, helped to hide and protect Ben Franklin from the British. This
WOW! took me reading this all the way through before I could definitely say "5 stars," partly because there is just SO MUCH to this story...truly "the amazing life and times" of a great American "celebrity," Benjamin Franklin. I learned so much, but I was often overwhelmed. One thing I do understand better from reading this is the whole time period of the Revolutionary War and the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. (He is the only person to sign the three ...more
Becky Martin
This informational picture book is used to describe the life of Benjamin Franklin. His early life, discoveries, and political contributions are all highlighted in this children friendly text. The illustrations are exciting, and they engage the reader into the information. I felt that the text was very heavy which may turn readers off. However, I love little unknown facts, and this book tried to emphasize those facts to the readers. One good thing about the text is it reads like a story, so reade ...more
Katie Goddard
I chose “Electric Ben” as one of my non-fiction books because I have always been fascinated with the life of Benjamin Franklin. I have a copy of his autobiography and have read it a few times :). Even though the book probably cannot be read by most 3rd graders, I think it would be an excellent read-a-loud book for the classroom to learn about the life and inventions of one of America's greatest minds, Benjamin Franklin. A possible area crossover with this book would be science. After reading the ...more
Samantha Powley
Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Ben Franklin, written by Robert Byrd is a story that tells about Benjamin Franklin childhood and ending in his death and all the amazing accomplishments that he had done in his lifetime. Benjamin Franklin ever since he was a child had a fascination with electricity. The story then goes on to tell how Ben Franklin went about discovering electricity with a kite. He went our during a stormy night with a kite and a key at the end of the string and when the ...more
Kirstin Baker
1. "Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin" by Fene Barretta, 2006.
2. This book will take what Ben did and apply it to what we do now. Having this real world application will make the learning more meaningful and easier to connect with. Because they can see how we use his inventions today, they can make these connections to deepen their understanding of the text.
3. The text structure of this book is chronological and descriptive. It goes through the life of Benjamin Franklin a
This book is full of interesting information about Benjamin Franklin. My 9 year old and I read it together over the course of two nights at bedtime. We borrowed this from our local library and it sat in the pile for many nights because it's so long and we only have so much time between brushing teeth and lights out.

We really enjoyed this book and especially loved the illustrations showing Ben doing his thing...electricity, bathtubs, bifocals , etc. The book covers the whole span of Franklin's li
Stefanie Skrdla
1. Idioms. Has anyone heard of an idiom before? If not, have you heard the saying, "break a leg" when someone is headed onstage for a performance? Or, have you heard the saying, "it's raining cats and dogs" when rain is pounding down on your roof? These sayings are called idioms. Idioms are a grouping of words or a short saying that means something different than the literal translation of the words. In the beginning of this book, there is a quote from Benjamin Franklin, or "Electric Ben," that ...more
Lauren Brink
I really enjoyed this nonfiction book about Benjamin Franklin. The book starts out by telling Franklin’s childhood story. He was the youngest boy of the Franklin family. He always loved to read and a quote by Ben Franklin inside this book that stuck out to me was “I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t read.” Franklin hated authority, and loved books. He owned his own print shop as well as the Pennsylvania Gazette the age of 22. The illustrations inside this book are very colorful and add to th ...more
Sophie Gray
This is a biography of Benjamin Franklin, telling the story of his lifetime along with the accomplishments he made along the way that make him the significant man he is today. As the book puts together Franklin’s life in a chronological order, it is easy for the audience to follow the story line. I was not aware of much about Benjamin Franklin’s life until I read this book, now I hold great knowledge on the man and what he went through in order to accomplish all of his successes. The book does n ...more
Kelsey Hoban
This beautiful and wonderfully crafted book brings one of our American heroes to life. In this book the author brings together all the Ben Franklin had accomplished throughout his lifetime. He brought them together through enthusiasm and appreciation. THe author brings together wonderful text and carefully crafted illustrations to help the reader understand the book. The book is easy for readers to comprehend and is a great read. I really liked this book because it gave a good sense of who Ben F ...more
Valerie Barnhart
1. What Color Is My World? The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul Jabbar copyright 2012. Twin text for celebration of achievement of inventors nonfiction set.

2. This text is a wealth of knowledge with a specific look at Ben Franklin's life. It is loaded with witty sayings from Ben Franklin. With an older age group each of his sayings could be translated to what the student understand from that piece. Ben Franklin like Rosie endured many failures and defeats. In this hist
Courtney Kearns
Selection: Young non-fiction

Electric Ben is a biography about the life of Benjamin Franklin. This book describes his accomplishments with interesting text and pictures. I also think that the cover is very appealing to younger primary students who may be turned off by non-fiction for whatever the case may be.

I had one of my higher-level reading students read this book during independent reading and the devoured it! This story is most effective for 3rd - 6th graders. I believe it would be a grea
VERY complete for a picture book biography. Don't pick this up thinking it will be a quick read. Byrd has filled the book with small print info on Franklin as well as many detailed drawings. So very interesting.
John Sperry
The life of Ben Franklin is explained in this historically yet entertaining book. The language used in the book is more conversational in tone, but remains factual and is similar to language that would be used in a school textbook. That being said, the use of many cartoon like pictures and variable font allows the book to appeal to a much younger age group.
Information presented in the book can be used as a focus for various lesson plans. For example, the book details various inventions such as
Melissa McMaster
Electric Ben is a historical nonfiction children’s book, telling the life story of Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin has contributed so much to our lives today: the Declaration of Independence and electricity are the biggies. But this book tells of his whole life, so that the reader can learn more about a great American innovator.
I do enjoy the illustrations in this book. They look old, which isn’t really what I tend to gravitate toward, but I appreciate the artistic style and the choice to d
Jake M.
Robert Bird's biography on Benjamin Franklin sets a high standard for all other junior non-fiction to follow. The writing is aimed at those between grades 4-8 and has plenty of information and quirky illustrations to satisfy visual learners. The book discusses Franklin as a statesman, philosopher, author and scientist in equal measure. While the words "cool" and "exciting" rarely enter the minds of youth when it comes to history, Ben Franklin is among the few figures who can prompt that reaction ...more
Told in lively prose and colorful illustrations, Byrd presents the life of America’s most prominent citizen from his boyhood in Boston through his publishing success in Philadelphia and then to his role as diplomat to the Iroquois, English and French, and along the way founding a library, a fire-fighting force, invention the lighting rod, and signing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both of which he helped write. As a printer, publisher, humorist, inventor, scientist, diplom ...more
Julia Reynolds
Biography of Benjamin Franklin. It’s the size of a picture book but has TINY TINY font and way too much info, with hand-drawn illustrations and an entire life story. I thought it would be a great storybook about Franklin and the whole electricity thing but it was like his whole life, including his childhood, marriage, almanac and printing business, how he fit into the revolution, and many international trips he took. It was like a condensed book version of visiting the Franklin house and museum ...more
Xin Luan
This book is biography of Benjamin Franklin. The book tells us the story of Benjamin‘s bright and legendary life. Children can learn lots of knowledge from this book, such as history, science. Pictures of this book make the text more vivid. Using this book to teach about Ben is a relaxed and comfortable way.
I think I can use this book to teach my students about how to read and write a biography. The real long biography might be boring and difficult for young children, so picture book is more ap
Kristen I
Electric Ben opens with an inspirational introduction that compares Ben Franklin's personality to the spirit of America as a growing country. It really sets the tone for the rest of the book. The text is chronological with many interesting and little known facts. It reads more like a story rather than an informational piece. I enjoyed how personal the details seemed, like each one was important to Ben Franklin himself. Honestly, I can't believe I learned so much in such a short book (but I LOVE ...more
Ally Copper
It can be argued that Benjamin Franklin is the most intriguing and beloved of the United States’ founding fathers. Franklin was a printer, editor, writer, inventor, philosopher, scientist, diplomat, and politician. He contributed to American literature, law making, government formation, and scientific breakthroughs. During his lifetime he was one of the most well known Americans around the world, and he remains one of the most influential figures from American history. All of this is captured in ...more
I love good children's books and my finding this one on the new books display at a local library was a great joy! The illustrations are delightful, done by the book's author, Robert Byrd. And the text is very well written and appropriate for maybe 8 year olds on up to young teens. I learned a lot about Franklin myself. For instance, he was married for 44 years to the former Deborah Read--an interesting maiden name, as Franklin is quoted as saying, "I don't remember a time I could not read. . .al ...more
Jim Erekson
This book has a very good cover, useful for judging. It reminds me of the 1960s Alton Kelley posters for groups like the Grateful Dead or Jefferson Airplane.

Surprising for the book's size, Byrd presents a lot of information on Franklin. The illustrations are mostly representational, and done in a style that harks to old printed engravings from Franklin's time. Each double-page spread is more like a chapter than a picture book spread, with text either dominating or sharing the page equally with
Like a bolt of lightning hitting a rod, Electric Ben thrills the reader with its dynamic and informative illustrations and leaves them grounded in solid knowledge and facts about Franklin’s vibrant life. Byrd’s use of “we” and “ours” during the book’s introduction draws the reader into exploring Franklin’s life along with the writer. The ordering of the book follows a logical chronological pattern and displays the early days of Franklin’s life that might especially intrigue a young reader as wel ...more
Pam ☼Ask Me About FrankenKnee☼ Tee
The ONLY thing wrong with ELECTRIC BEN is the reading level. This book has got appealing artwork and some of the best non-fiction writing for young folks that I've run across in a long while, but it's at a 7.7 Accelerated Reading Level -- which is going to mean that to enjoy fun this excellent book, many children are going to have to have it read to them, rather than read it for themselves.

ELECTRIC BEN looks like a picture book. It's got colorful, detailed art, but even better, it's got great wr
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Robert Byrd has been delighting children of all ages with his whimsical, fantasy-filled children's books for over 30 years. As author and illustrator he has the rare talent to see his fanciful visions through to the minutest detail. Whether enlightening audiences to the many talents of Leonardo DaVinci or taking us into a wonderous world filled with foxes and bears in military attire, Bob, (as he' ...more
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