Bound To Stay Bound

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 Electric Ben : the amazing life and times of Benjamin Franklin
 Author: Byrd, Robert

 Publisher:  Dial Books for Young Readers (2012)

 Dewey: 973.3092
 Classification: Biography
 Physical Description: [40] p., ill. (chiefly col.), 31 cm.

 BTSB No: 180130 ISBN: 9780803737495
 Ages: 10-12 Grades: 5-7

 Franklin, Benjamin, -- 1706-1790

Price: $6.50

A picture book about America's own Renaissance man--the ever curious, original, and humorous Benjamin Franklin.

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 7.70
   Points: 2.0   Quiz: 154343
Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: 3-5
   Reading Level: 8.40
   Points: 5.0   Quiz: 60928

 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor, 2013

Common Core Standards 
   Grade 5 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 5.RI Craft & Structure
   Grade 5 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 5.RI Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
   Grade 5 → Reading → RI Informational Text → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
   Grade 5 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
   Grade 6 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 6.RI Craft & Structure
   Grade 6 → Reading → RI Informational Text → 6.RI Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
   Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo

   Kirkus Reviews (+) (08/15/12)
   School Library Journal (10/01/12)
   Booklist (+) (10/15/12)
 The Hornbook (+) (00/11/12)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 10/15/2012 *Starred Review* 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. The topical approach allows for tightly focused discussions exploring facets of this complex man. Introducing him as a scientist, writer, inventor, philosopher, publisher, and statesman, the text clearly communicates a sense of Franklin’s personality along with his varied experiences and accomplishments. As well researched as the text, and often given as much space on the page, the detailed ink-and-watercolor artwork creates a distinctive period look for the book and delivers plenty of historical information visually. Many pictures illustrate scenes literally (colonial firefighters attempt to save a house on fire), but others are more symbolic (Franklin standing atop the earth, surrounded by icons representing his scientific accomplishments). While several illustrations of varied sizes sometimes appear on the same spread, the overall effect is very pleasing. Best suited to advanced individual readers or one-on-one read-aloud sessions, this informative biography offers a vivid, striking portrayal. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 10/01/2012 Gr 4–6—In the 1738 edition of Poor Richard's Almanac, Franklin printed this aphorism: "If you would not be forgotten/As soon as you are dead and rotten,/Either write things worth reading,/Or do things worth the writing." He succeeded admirably, as indicated by the ample catalog of Franklin biographies written for young readers from notables including Jean Fritz, James Cross Giblin, and Candace Fleming. Electric Ben represents a proficient but flawed addition to an already-crowded shelf. Using lucid phrasing and appealing detail, Byrd breaks the main narrative into two-page sections, each roughly related to an episode or subject. Unfortunately, excessive design elements and Byrd's fussy ink-and-watercolor illustrations threaten to overwhelm the informative text. Highlighted aphorisms and spot illustrations peppered throughout each page clutter the design and disrupt the flow of the author's readable account of Franklin's astonishingly fruitful life. The vibrant artwork shifts between intricately rendered tableaux and conceptual illustrations packed with symbols and biographical references, the latter, replete with celestial bodies and waves of energy. Finicky captions, which turn some of the electric-hued pictures into stealth diagrams, offer yet more facts and quotes. Byrd makes a few perplexing choices in his narrative, such as including only minimal mention of Franklin's wife, and identifying his illegitimate son, William, as adopted. In general, while the text may convey the wealth of Franklin's writing-worthy achievements, the visuals prove too frenetic even to capture the boundless energy and creativity of that consummate printer-author-scientist-inventor-statesman.—Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NY - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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