I recently reviewed Bomb: The Race to Build-And Steal-the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon which was the 2013 Robert F. Sibert Medal winner. Electric Ben was one of the three Sibert Medal Honor books for this year. I am really excited to see such great informational books being offered to a young adult audience!
Electric Ben is only a forty page picture book. Because of this, I was under the assumption that it was more appropriate for an elementary audience. I am excited to say that it is not, and it is perfect for middle level readers. Honestly, I think readers of all ages would appreciate this book. I really enjoyed it. I was amazed at how much information about Franklin was included in this text.
Robert Byrd is a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and he illustrated this book, as well. He has a very unique style that I think would really attract kids to this text. The drawings have rich color and a bit of a humorous feel to them in places.
I have to admit any time a university professor writes a book about one of our founding fathers I get a little nervous. I could detect no bias or any attempt to disparage Franklin. I thought that Byrd did an outstanding job of delivering who Franklin really was. The book could be an excellent resource for a middle level student doing a research project on Franklin.
I think one of the best parts of this book is how disarming it is to the middle level reader that may not be interested in American history. As I mentioned above, the great illustrations draw you in and the length of the text is not daunting. This definitely is not a “boring” history book. I think this text could very much be a gateway for that middle level reader to discover a curiosity about those that founded this great nation.
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