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Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin
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Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  968 ratings  ·  155 reviews
The inventions and inspiration of Benjamin Franklin and how they've stood the test of time

What would you do if you lived in a community without a library, hospital, post office, or fire department? If you were Benjamin Franklin, you'd set up these organizations yourself. Franklin also designed the lightning rod, suggested the idea of daylight savings time, and invented bif
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 7th 2006 by Henry Holt and Company
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4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  968 ratings  ·  155 reviews

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Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is an informative non-fiction read that reads and feels like a picture book. Ben Franklin's inventions are shown in a way that children can relate to through the "Now" and "Ben" pictures. Bright and colorful illustrations show how we use those inventions today, and how they were used in Ben's time.

I really enjoyed reading this book and learned something new myself. I had never heard of the armonica before, and I learned of inventions that I did not know were attributed to Ben Franklin
Nov 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many people know Benjamin Franklin for his contributions to achieving American independence, his roles in shaping the American Government, his foreign diplomatic missions, and his "wit and wisdom". This book focuses on another facet of this remarkable human being: his inventions.

And what fun it is! The format of showing things that we take for granted "NOW" (such as fireplaces, fire departments, and bifocals) and pairing it with "BEN'S" original invention is highly effective. I was already well
Nov 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This book was featured as one of the selections for the November 2011 Inventors-themed reads for the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.

I'm so glad that we discovered this book. So often, biographical books, even picture books tend to be overly wordy and detailed. This book is terrific! It has wonderful, colorful illustrations, simple explanations of Ben's inventions (including things, institutions, and even important documents), but even better yet, it depicts ho
Lisa Vegan
As somebody currently mourning the recent change to standard time from daylight savings time, kudos to Franklin for first suggesting daylight savings time!

This book can’t help but be interesting, given that it covers many of Franklin’s valuable inventions, creations, and contributions, all still with us today in their original or adapted forms.

Overall, the book is very interesting, though I think it has a really stupid last line and last page of illustrations, but maybe that page appeals to kid
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Children Interested in Benjamin Franklin and/or Inventors in General
The extraordinary contributions of that eighteenth-century American scientist, author and politician, Benjamin Franklin - his innovations in fields as diverse as electricity and newspaper-printing - are set out here in Gene Barretta's attractive picture-book, ideally suited to younger readers with an interest in invention and discovery. Each two-page spread is devoted to a particular idea or invention, contrasting the scene now, and the scene "Ben" - now we expect that our newspapers will includ ...more
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, kidstuff
Amazing! Almost everything Ben Franklin created is still around today! Bifocals, political cartoons, lightning rods, long-arm grabbers - all from the mind of the Franklin.

This book humorously presents some of Ben's most practical, and a few of his wackier, inventions.

There are things I didn't know he had anything to do with - second hands on clocks, odometers, and library chairs.


What a guy, this Franklin fellow!
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
The pages of inventions just went on and on-- I don't know how Ben Franklin had time to invent all those things! The author cleverly linked Ben's time with today by showing things we use now and then telling us how Ben invented them back in the 18th century. He was a fascinating person. Readers of this book will want to read more about him. I know I do!
Crystal Marcos
Dec 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin is an enjoyable read about ingenious Benjamin Franklin. The book is interesting and very informative, written in a way that is sure to please young readers. The artwork is creative with many fun details. Benjamin Franklin invented many things that help shape the way we live our lives today. I found myself saying, "I didn't know that" several times though out the book. Well, now I know! I'll never be able to look at my grabber (a long stic ...more
RLL 520 Sharonda Kimbrough
Did you know that Benjamin Franklin never patented his creations because he believed that people should have the freedom to modify and improve them? In this colorful text for young readers, children will learn about the many roles Franklin played in his lifetime and his amazing inventions.This text would be a great resource for an elementary school social studies or science classroom!
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
An interesting look at some of Franklin's inventions still in use today.
5/27/17 Read with Naomi and Julia.
Nov 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the title and opening line tied together were clever...Now and then we think about Ben Franklin...and then throughout the book to show what we have now and what Ben invented or contributed. He really was a remarkable man! This is a great book to show kids the ingenuity and talent of Franklin. I also really enjoyed the illustrations.
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Now and Ben" by Gene Barretta tells the story of Benjamin Franklin's many inventions that have helped create our modern world. Many people may not know that Franklin invented so many things, and this book tells the reader about these things from a comical and engaging perspective.

The cover of this book has Ben standing on a cobbled street in the city, and his face is in a frame that he is holding up with "Franklin" at the bottom. Each stone has something that Ben was, such as Cartoonist, Printe
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Amy by: Dolly
You know, Now & Ben was a decent book, and it contained several, "huh, I never knew that," factoids within its pages. The pictures were certainly adequate, and did a fine job of illustrating many of Franklin's inventions to children.

My niece was interested in this entire book, but she is a lover of non-fiction, and she's always been interested in science and technology. My nephew was significantly less impressed with this book, but he's only four, has no idea who Benjamin Franklin was, and h
Nicole Nance
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin is a must read-aloud! Throughout the book the author compares the past and present and how Benjamin Franklin invented, discovered, and helped establish many things people still use today. One example is bifocals. Benjamin Franklin use to get tired of switching between his two glasses so he invented bifocals which allowed him to view close objects by looking through the bottom of his glasses, and view objects further away by looking throug ...more
Emily Drake
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Title: Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin
Author: Gene Barretta
Illustrator: Gene Barretta
GR Level: W
Lexile: 910
Grade Level: 6th Grade
Publisher: Square Fish
Date: 2008
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 40


This book dives into all Benjamin Franklin` s inventions and their impact on our modern society. The book talks about several of Franklin`s inventions by first explaining the invention and then talking about how we still use it or a modification of it in modern times. T
Inhabiting Books
Gene Barretta writes and illustrates this fascinating book about Benjamin Franklin, a Renaissance Man: author, statesman, inventor, scientist, publisher, and political activist.

On the left side of each double page layout of the book is a "Now" page, showing the things we use in our modern day, while over on the right is the "Ben" page, showing how Benjamin Franklin's invention was the forerunner.

Super fun pictures, very readable, interesting text. And I love it because not only do my girls laugh
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Benjamin Franklin, was one of those brilliant people in history that seemed to be good at everything. His forward thinking ideas and creations from more than 200 years ago are still being used and improved upon today. This book does a wonderful job of explaining these ideas to young readers. I would definitely recommend this book for 3rd graders on up that are looking to write their first biographies or just interested in learning about great figures in American history.
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Highlights features and things we have today because of Ben’s inventions and creativity. I had no idea that Ben drew cartoons, invented the grabber, or invented a great number of other items mentioned in this book. I admire Barreta for sharing a new perspective of a well-known American. Barretta’s text structure and framed illustrations reinforce the concept of Now and Ben. I appreciate the inclusion of pages in Braille. Great book!
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book was great at providing information on what Benjamin Franklin accomplished in his lifetime. I love how the book separated Now and Ben. It was helpful for making the comparisons, and thinking how his work has impacted our lives today. There were a few things that I didn't love about the book, however, I think this book can be used as a great learning tool.
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
A brief history of Benjamin Franklin's inventions and how we are still using many of them. It tells of inventions so his childhood days, as well as throughout his life. A quick easy way to learn about this famous man and how many of his inventions continue to make our lives easier.
Stacey Brunst
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A biographical picture book that looks at all of the contributions Benjamin Franklin made. The author compares what his inventions first looked like and how they are still used today. Text is easy to read at a quick pace and the illustrations are fun to look at.
J Kreuz
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book about the inventions and accomplishments of Benjamin Franklin! There were several facts that I was unaware of before reading this little gem. A fine introduction to the great works of this great man. I enjoyed this as much as my son.
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! The accomplishments of this one man are extraordinary and this account helps give them meaning to students today. The illustrations add even more to the books message for those who read closely.
Jess Gill
this was fascinating to both my son and I - he's still talking about things Benjamin Franklin is credited with a week later. fun illustrations and a creative storytelling format.
Dawn Fielder
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a charming book that shows the inventions of Ben Franklin in their original form and how they have evolved to their present day incarnations.
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Benjamin Franklin is really cool! He made cool inventions!
Jaycie Fowlkes
Apr 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Benjamin Franklin is one of the world's most renowned inventors. His inventions have shaped the world of today, and this book looks at how his ideas affected us then and now. Some of Ben's discoveries include cartoons, bifocals, electricity, the lightning rod, the odometer, and he even implemented city establishments. He even contributed to the formation of this nation with his role in the development of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and important treaties. Ben's legacy has ...more
Jo Oehrlein
This book shows some of Ben Franklin's inventions and how we still use something similar today.

Would be fun paired with Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France.

Great when learning about American Revolutionary times.
Noel Tomlinson
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-lit
Now & Ben is about Benjamin Franklin and how greatly he has impacted the world today with his inventions. This book show what we do and use now and then it shows how Franklin invented it or something like it that eventually led to what we use today.

This book is really cute and clever, starting with Now & Ben instead of now and then. The illustrator uses the two pages as a divider of the past and the present. I myself didn't quite understand how much he really did to change the lives of l
Luisa Knight
A simple but fun story that explains how Franklin had a hand in bringing about many of the items and concepts we still benefit from and use today. Children will enjoy recognizing several of his inventions!

Ages: 5 - 9

Cleanliness: small illustrations of a woman in a bikini.

**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides (downloada
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Gene Barretta is the author and illustrator of Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin and Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci. He is also author and illustrator of Dear Deer, which was a Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts and listed on the Parenting Magazine Mom-Tested Books of the Year List. He holds a B.F.A. in Film Studies from New York University, and h ...more