Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Amazing Mr. Franklin: or The Boy who Read Everything

The Amazing Mr. Franklin: or The Boy who Read Everything

Ruth Ashby
Illustrator:  Michael Montgomery 
For ages 8 to 10
Peachtree, 2004   ISBN: 978-1561453061

The youngest of seventeen children Benjamin Franklin was clearly a very bright and special child from a very early age. More than almost anything else Ben liked books and this was a love which would, if anything, only grow as he got older.

Since Ben came from a family which was not wealthy Ben’s father decided that he would apprentice his son in a trade. Ben chose to work for his half brother James, a printer. He would be surrounded by the written word in such a job. So happy was Ben with this idea that agreed to indenture himself to his brother, signing away his life until he reached the age of 21.

It turned out that the relationship was not a success though Ben did very well in the business. In fact things went so badly that Ben went back on his agreement and secretly left Philadelphia for a while, seeking new opportunities first in New York and then in Boston,

This is just the beginning of a series of adventures that Ben had as he tried to find a place for himself in the world, something which he achieved at a remarkably young age. He was still quite a young man when he managed to set himself up in his own printing business and, in addition, he and a group of his friends also set about creating the first subscription library in the American colonies.

Throughout this engaging book we are provided with all sorts of fascinating background information about the times and what it was like to live during Franklin’s lifetime. The book is written in a convivial, easy-to-read style which emphasizes Ben’s extraordinary accomplishments and his remarkable personality.