Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ben Franklin: His Wit and Wisdom From A-Z

Alphabet books are a slippery slope.  Anyone who's every played The Alphabet Game in the car knows how difficult it is to find certain letters and alphabet books often fall into the trap of either making up some cutesy nonsense word to cover a letter or reaching too far to find a word that fits with the theme.

This alphabet book about Ben Franklin's life doesn't do that.  Each letter (including x) is represented by something real from Franklin's life...that is spelled correctly - hooray!

I learned quite a bit about good old Ben as I read this book.  For instance, did you know that he:
  • started Philadelphia's first library, hospital, and public college?
  • invented a musical instrument called the armonica?
  • was dipped in cold water three times a day when he was a baby?  This is called "hardening off" and apparently it was a common practice in colonial American because people believed it kept infants healthy - yikes.
  • took an "air bath" every day?  Yep, he believed spending part of each day naked was essential to good health.

Schroeder has crafted a clever biography in a format that young readers will enjoy.  Each page also contains bits of wisdom from Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac, opening up opportunities for discussion about a variety of topics - money sense, relationships, health, history, science and much more.

Great way to introduce the biography genre or just to learn about an American icon.

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