Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin
Non-Fiction Picture Book
Ages 5 to 8
Henry Holt, 2006, 0-8050-7917-3
Benjamin Franklin was truly a man who was born ahead of his time. The evidence for this is demonstrated by the fact that many of his inventions and ideas are still in use today. Benjamin invented bifocal glasses for example and today millions of people wear bifocals so they don’t have to keep changing their glasses to see things close to or far away. He invented the lightening rod and many homeowners today have these devices on their roofs to protect their homes from being destroyed by a lightning strike. Benjamin also invented the first clock with a second hand and created the first odometer. Today every car has an odometer on its dashboard and many clocks and watches have a second hand.
Today we take for granted the library, post office, fire department and sanitation department which can be found in every town and city. In Benjamin’s time these facilities did not exist so he helped organize the first of each one of these valuable services. We may also take for granted the ways in which Benjamin Franklin helped to make the world a better place by his work in the diplomatic field. Certainly the United States owes him a great debt for all the duties he performed during and after the American Revolution.
The author of this engaging and interesting book shows his reader how Benjamin Franklin’s world differed from our own and how he worked hard to improve conditions for people living more than 200 years ago. The illustrations show the modern world alongside that of the mid 1700’s which helps readers see the past and the present and shows, to great effect, how advanced Benjamin Franklin’s ideas were.
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