Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin

The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin

James Cross Giblin
Illustrator:  Michael Dooling 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 9 to 12
Scholastic, 2006   ISBN: 978-0439810654

Benjamin Franklin was the son of a candle maker and he came from a large family. As his family were not well off Ben could not have the luxury of getting an education and he had to get a job. So, when he was only ten Ben began to work for his father. Later Ben’s father got Ben an apprenticeship working for Ben’s brother in a printing shop. Ben liked the work and it suited his love for the written word but he did not always get along with his brother and when he was just seventeen he ran away and went to Philadelphia where he worked as a printer.

This was just the beginning of Ben’s adventures for when he was eighteen he went to London for a while, a city he would return to later in life as a spokesman for his people.

He was back in Philadelphia in 1726 and soon after he opened his own printing business which did very well and which supported him and later his family in reasonable comfort.

It was only after he retired at the age of forty-two that Ben began to experiment with electricity, to invent things, and to take a political role in the doings of his colony. It was in fact in the latter half of his life that he did the things which would have a lasting impact on the world long after he was gone.

Though Benjamin Franklin is perhaps best known for his experiments with lightening and kites, there were many other things that he did in his lifetime which were more important to his world – and ours. He strongly believed that man should serve his country, no matter how inconvenient it was to do so, and this Benjamin Franklin did for many years.

James Cross Giblin helps readers see that Benjamin Franklin was indeed a man of many talents, a man with a great mind, and a man with a strong social conscience. He served his town, his colony, and his country to the best of his ability and at the same time he did all this with a sense of humor and a wondrous curiosity about all things.

Beautifully written, the text of this book is both entertaining and enlightening and when combined with the numerous illustrations which can be found on the pages, it is a title which readers will come back to again and again.