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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

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  414 Ratings  ·  138 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
Oct 08, 2013 Maureen Houston rated it really liked it
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
Sep 26, 2012 Monica Edinger rated it really liked it
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
Mar 23, 2013 Chelsea rated it really liked it

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
Mar 02, 2013 Liz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2012-13
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
Apr 07, 2013 Becky Martin rated it it was ok
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
"Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin" by Robert Byrd is a nonfictional biography on the life and accomplishments of Benjamin Franklin. The book outlines his ventures with electricity, in politics, and even his smaller inventions. This book has fun illustrations that really bring the historical events to life. This book would be great with 2nd or 3rd graders. One gripe I had with this book is that the text is kind of small on the pages and could be difficult for students ...more
Short Response:
Byrd, Robert. Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012. 40 p. Gr. 1-5.

This biography is a 2013 'Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children' honor book. The book is arranged in sections that function as "mini-chapters", detailing Benjamin Franklin's life and accomplishments. The text opens with ten-year-old Benjamin using a kite in an unusual way (a foreshadowing of his future achievements) and follows the fig
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
Oct 19, 2014 Samantha Powley rated it really liked it
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
Mar 03, 2014 Barb rated it really liked it
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
Apr 15, 2015 Lauren Brink rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 30, 2015 Sunday rated it it was amazing
Many biographies cover a lot of facts, offering very little depth. This can be frustrating for readers or student-researchers who are trying to gain some understanding beyond a date and location and event. Robert Byrd, the author of this bio, goes into more depth about particular events or aspects of Franklin's life while still keeping in mind the age of his audience. So more depth, but not so much that he loses his reader. Each two-page spread has a clear sub-topic like "School Days" or "Frankl ...more
Kelsey Hoban
Apr 30, 2014 Kelsey Hoban rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens, t-l-307
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
Brooke Bradford
Annotation: Benjamin Franklin was an extraordinary man and he did some amazing things in his life. From the beginning of his life to the end of his life he was a printer, inventor, scientist, and apart of the Declaration of Independence. This book goes through his life piece by piece and talks about all the amazing things one person can do in 84 years of life.

Classroom Connection/Personal reflection: This book can be used with either science or social studies. For science students can use this b
Valerie Barnhart
Apr 05, 2015 Valerie Barnhart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inventors
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
Dec 05, 2014 Courtney Kearns rated it really liked it
Shelves: grad-class
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
Mar 12, 2015 Betsy rated it it was amazing
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.
Thomas Frey
Nov 18, 2015 Thomas Frey rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
Electric Ben by Robert Byrd is a book about Benjamin Franklin. This book was a great overview at some of the great accomplishments that Benjamin Franklin has achieved in his lifetime. I think that this book is a great way to help young children become more educated on someone who played such an important role in our history. I think that the illustrations in this book went along very well with the test but at the same time I think that they might have been a little distracting at some times due ...more
Rachel Boatright
Nov 27, 2015 Rachel Boatright rated it it was ok
Electric Ben The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin was an ok book. It is a nonfiction book about Benjamin Franklin it starts off with his childhood and makes its way through his life and all the great things that he has done for science and our country. One reason I would suggest this book is because as a kid when you think of Benjamin Franklin you think about how he discovered electricity but he also did so much more and by reading this book you find out so much more about him. One re ...more
John Sperry
Jul 31, 2014 John Sperry rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 26, 2014 Jake M. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youth, non-fiction
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
Feb 15, 2014 Bruce rated it really liked it
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
Apr 22, 2014 Xin Luan rated it really liked it
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
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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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