PPBF: Electric Ben

Electric Ben

Author/Illustrator: Robert Byrd
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012
Age Level: 5-8
Themes: Ben Franklin, social activists, statesmen, inventors, scientists, printers, biography
Opening: A boy about ten years old was swimming in a pond in early colonial Massachusetts.
Summary: A true Renaissance man, Benjamin Franklin was the first American celebrity. In pictures and text, master artist Robert Byrd documents Franklin’s numerous and diverse accomplishments, from framing the Constitution to creating bifocals. The witty, wise, and endlessly curious Franklin is the perfect subject for Byrd’s lively style and vibrant art. The pages pulse with facts, quotes, and captions, while the inventive design and intricately detailed illustrations make a striking tribute to the brilliant American.

Isn't he gorgeous!

Isn’t he gorgeous!

Why I like this book: This is not a typical PPBF selection for me, and I’ll admit the funky bright cover attracted me first. But I am a BIG fan of well-written biographies, especially if there are so many fun and informative illustrations. And if there were someone from the past I could choose to shoot the breeze with, you guessed it, it’s Ben, and always has . . . been!

A Kirkus Reviews Best Childrens Book of 2012, a 2012 Horn Fanfare Book, and a 2012 Robert F. Sibert Honor book!

You might enjoy more of Robert Byrd’s books – click HERE to read about them.

Here is another dreamy portrait by Joseph-Siffred Duplessis that was used to create the image for the $_____ bill. Please add your guess in the comment section!

Activities: I’ve been waiting to write something like this, and mean it, for a long time: GO FLY A KITE!

Go to Susanna Hill’s blog for more Perfect Picture Books and activities.

25 thoughts on “PPBF: Electric Ben

  1. i like biographies too, but so far I’ve got Marlene Dietrich, Nigel Mansell and Dawn French. What a mix! Sounds great, Julie. I’ll look out for it.


  2. I’m a Philly girl right now, so Ben is a favorite! He was a real ladies man in his day. My guess for the bill – hmm- not even sure how high the bills went back in the day! I’ll say $100.


  3. I love your sharing this book. Ben Franklin is someone I’d enjoy hanging out with too. Love really good biographies with illustrations. Will get this one for sure and add it to my collection. Great choice today.


  4. How funny, before I began reading your review the adjective that came to mind from the cover was ‘funky’! I wonder what the word count is on this? I love a great biography.


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