Ben Franklin's Almanac: Being a True Account of the Good Gentleman's Life

by Candace Fleming

Hardcover, 2003



Local notes

921 FRA




Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2003), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 128 pages


Brings together eighteenth century etchings, artifacts, and quotations to create the effect of a scrapbook of the life of Benjamin Franklin.

Physical description

128 p.; 7.75 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member ewang109
Fleming, C. (2003). Ben Franklin’s almanac: Being a true account of the good gentleman’s life. New York, NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Fleming used Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac to create her nontraditional biography. Instead of providing a chronological account, she divides
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the book into several chapters, including Boyhood Memories, the Writer’s Journal, the Scientist’s Scrapbook, and Revolution memorabilia. Readers could read all sections or just some of them. Each chapter provides a glimpse into Franklin’s life and reveals his varied interests. Portraits, etchings, cartoons, sketches, and photographs of documents surround each two-page spread. These visuals and anecdotes answer Franklin’s question: “What good shall I do today?”

Franklin’s life is sure to engage child in some way—whether it is his love for writing, his witty sayings, his love affair, his humor, or his inventions. By examining Franklin’s life, readers can see how he influenced today’s society. He discovered that lightning and electricity was the same thing; he invented bifocals; he created the first electric generator; he suggested to his friend Noah Webster to publish a book on word usage, which became Webster’s dictionary; and he played a significant role in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

The visuals along with an extensive bibliography for each chapter and a list of picture sources provide evidence of documentation and authenticity. The use text and images help readers to “discover Ben” in a personable way. Through her biography, readers will see his multifaceted character.

I really enjoyed Ben Franklin’s Almanac because it gave me snapshots into his life. I felt like I was going through an actual scrapbook. The maps, letters, and artwork brought me face-to-face with history. The book successfully “helped [me] to connect with Ben the person, rather than just a name and dates.” It is an interesting biography and unique in its presentation of information. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member daisyacg
5Q 3P
This is a picture book intended for older readers, most likely grades 5 and up. Fleming organizes biographical information about Ben Franklin in a unique and non-linear way, and balances the substantial amount of text with historical illustrations and photos of artifacts belonging to or
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created by Franklin. The high quality of information about Benjamin Franklin through his inventions, personality, family/social life, and political influence is deeply explored with several primary sources quoted (typically letters to and from Franklin) as well as contemporary accounts about Franklin. However, the dense and long text, although broken up by the illustrations makes this a substantial read and the vocabulary level is at a middle grade level. It would be a valuable choice for biography projects and for a child interested in American history or in learning more about one of Franklin's inventions.
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(13 ratings; 4.4)
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