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  ·  242 ratings  ·  95 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
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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...more
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...more
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...more
WOW! Okay...it 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
Electric Ben
by Robert Byrd
Published in 2012

Genre: Non-fiction

Format: Picture book

Plot Summary: "Large in format and ambitious in scope, this appealingly designed book spotlights Benjamin Franklin and his times. Each double-page spread presents an aspect of Franklin’s life, moving chronologically from Ben’s Beginnings and School Days through The Scientific Amusements and The Natural Philosopher to The American in Paris and Liberty and Justice for All." - Carolyn Phelan

Considerations for Readers A...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...more
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...more
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
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
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...more
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...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...more
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
Pamela ☼where's my aspirin☼ 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...more
Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin
by Robert Byrd
Audience: Primary; K-3; Ages 5-8
Genre: Non-Fiction; Biography

Awards: 2013 Orbis Pictus Honor Book for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children
2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Book Award Winner
Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book
Horn Fanfare Book
2013 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book

Robert Byrd, in his biography titled Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin (2012), introduces Ben Franklin as “a scientist...more
Book 28 Bibliographic Citation:
Byrd, R. (2012). Electric Ben: The amazing life and times of Benjamin Franklin. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.

Age/Grade Level: (Ages 10–14, Grades 5–8)

Described as inventor, writer, scientist, diplomat, and statesman, Ben Franklin played a huge role in the founding of the new American nation, the United States. From birth to apprentice to business owner, this story shares the highlights of this fascinating and ageless icon of the American 1700s...more
Jen Kahl
Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd, who received an Honor Award in 2013 from NCTE Orbis Pictus. The design of the cover of book is very catchy. At first glance, it almost appears like a hippie-looking Ben Franklin wearing a tye-dyed shirt but when you look at the picture closer it shows Benjamin Franklin illuminated in yellow and surrounded by electricity in bright yellow, and him turning a wheel with a kite attached to it.
The illustrations inside the b...more
After reading this book, I thought to myself, what didn’t Benjamin Franklin do?! More than just being the discoverer of electricity, readers learn throughout this biography that Benjamin Franklin invented the street lamp, was the master-mind behind the first volunteer fire brigade, creator of the Poor Richard Almanac, a drafter for the Declaration of Independence, and more! I think that the “Electric Ben” title was directed at Ben’s ability to accomplish so much within his lifetime, rather than...more
Dorothy Schultz
TED 2360eering

"There is something about Franklin that makes us feel we somehow know him, so unlike the other Founding Fathers peering sternly at us from their solemn portraits. We even affectionately call him, Ben (pg. 2).
"Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin," by author Robert Byrd, is the (2013) Robert Sibert Informational Book award winner. Byrd writes and creatively illustrates an energetic account of Benjamin Franklin's life, times, and inv...more
LIBS 642 Junior Book Log
Sibert Medal or Honor 2004-2013

Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin is a colorfully constructed look into the life of one of America's greats. From his early days as a school boy all the way to his contributions to "liberty and justice for ALL", Benjamin Franklin life is explored through the lens of his many accomplishments, as an inventor, philosopher, author, scientist and statesmen. Author Robert Byrd explores these many attributes chronologica...more
Miranda Jones
Reading Electric Ben gave me more information about the life of Benjamin Franklin than I ever had before. I always knew Ben Franklin as the guy that discovered electricity, however, reading this book informed me that he did much, much more. Not only was Ben Franklin a scientist, but he was a newspaper publisher and politician. This short book was child-friendly because it gave information about Ben Franklin’s life in a concise way that wasn’t boring to read. I would use this in my classroom beca...more
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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
More about Robert Byrd...
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