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Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin

by Gene Barretta

Published by Henry Holt, 2006
32 pages
ISBN: 0-8050-7917-3

Ages 6-10

“It was as if Ben could see into the future. Almost everything he created is still around today,” author Gene Barretta writes in Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin. Barretta’s witty play on words provides a framework for sharing information about sixteen of Franklin’s creations, discoveries, or improvements on existing ideas, most of which are still around in one form or another. “Now . . . chairs come in all shapes and sizes. Ben . . . designed two chairs that are still very useful. The writing chair combined a desk and chair into one. The library chair was a combination chair and stepladder.” (Not as enduring were two of Franklin’s rocking chair designs: one had a fan on top to keep the sitter cool; the other churned butter while rocking.) Baretta’s illustrations manage to be both funny and informative, adding to this lighthearted look at Franklin’s inventive mind. (MS) ©2006 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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