Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Benjamin Franklin Children's Book and Video Recommendations (Part 3)

"Order allows more time for attending to projects and studies."
- Benjamin Franklin
We've had a lot of fun learning about Benjamin Franklin.  We've read a LOT of books, put together a lap book, and watched two videos.  At this point my guys are begging me to take back the Franklin books and get "normal books" (their words).  So, this will be the last post about Benjamin Franklin books, for now at least.

Books on Film

Ben and Me:  An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin as Written by His Good Mouse Amos by Robert Lawson.  Published by Little, Brown Books, 1988.

Originally published in 1939, Lawson presents the book as a tiny manuscript that he discovered and published.  Amos the Mouse is the narrator and tells us about the life of Benjamin Franklin - from the perspective of a mouse.

My 7 year old, Will, enjoys this book because the mouse takes all the credit for Franklin's witty proverbs, inventions and writings.  Will thinks the mouse if very smart and funny.

I like the book because the history is, mostly, accurate and the story line is fun.  It's a relatively short chapter book that my 2nd grader can read on his own in a couple of hours.


In 1953, Disney released an animated short movie of Ben and Me.  The video doesn't appear to be available on DVD by itself but can be purchased on Disney Timeless Tales Volume 3.

The video is only about 20 minutes long and is the basic story line of the book.  It is typical Disney and is very cute.  I suggest reading Ben and Me as a read aloud and then watching the movie afterward.

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Now & Ben:  The modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta.  Published by Henry Holt and Company, 2006.

Barretta describes many of Franklin's inventions and shows us how they have influenced modern American life with many still in use today.  Did you know Franklin was the first to suggest Daylight Savings Time?  His intention was to change clocks to take advantage of as much daylight as possible during winter months and thereby save candles, which in turn saved money.  Who knew one of the Founding Fathers was to blame for this annoying practice?!

I enjoyed this book immensely.  The cartoonish illustrations are entertaining and interesting to look at.  The comparison of Ben's inventions or ideas to today's products is informative and fascinating.  Overall, this is a fun book that I'd love to add to my personal library some day.


After reading the book, we watched the DVD version.  I have searched high and low on the internet and finally discovered the DVD on Spoken Arts Special Appearance.  The video begins with an interview with the author.  The remainder of the video is made from the illustrations of the book.

It's cute but intended for libraries and schools.  If you can find it at your local library, I recommend it.

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There you have it - my recommendations for Benjamin Franklin children's books.  

Have you read any of books about Ben Franklin?

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1 comment:

Laura said...

My boys LOVED Ben and Me!

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