Sorry the blog’s been so quiet, ya’ll. Following the whirlwind of the holidays, I’m now on deadline for two books with my publisher, Rourke Educational Media, and working on a third for a reading program. I took a short break to bring you a book I’ve been wanting to share for a while…
TITLE: Ben Franklin’s Big Splash
AUTHOR: Barb Rosenstock
ILLUSTRATOR: S. D. Schindler
PUBLICATION INFO: Calkins Creek, 2014
SOURCE: personal library
INTENDED AUDIENCE: ages 8+
GENRE: historical fiction picture book
OPENING and SYNOPSIS:
“Before the world knew the famous Doctor Benjamin Franklin, his neighbors knew him as Ben, the sturdy, saucy, smelly son of a soap-maker — the boy who, on sweltering summer days, snuck away from stirring soap and snipping candlewicks in his father’s shop to head straight for the river…”
From the publisher:
“Ben Franklin loved to swim and, at the age of eleven, he was determined to swim like a fish—fins and all! This fascinating and lively account of young Ben’s earliest invention follows the budding scientist’s journey as he tests and retests his swim fins. That first big splash led Ben to even more innovations and inventions. Includes Franklin quotes, a timeline, bibliography, and source notes.”
THEMES/TOPICS: history, invention
WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I read this one with my six-year-old last night, and he could totally relate to Ben’s passion for swimming. Plus, Ben swims in the buff, which kids find hilarious. (Don’t worry, Schindler keeps Ben modest.) As a parent, I appreciated that Ben’s swim fins and sandals didn’t work out as planned, but he didn’t give up. And just when the six-year-old wanted to know about Ben’s other inventions, I turned the page to find back matter highlighting some of Ben’s contributions.
- What would you invent: What problems do you see around you? How could you solve them with a new invention? Draw a sketch or write a paragraph describing your ideas.
- Ready to put your ideas to the test? NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab has a great video series on science fairs, which includes an overview of the engineering design process similar to Ben’s swim fin efforts.
- PBS has eight lesson plans to accompany its series about Benjamin Franklin. Learn about inventions, newspapers, and more.
You’ll find way more cool books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Perfect Picture Books.” Every Friday folks review a host of new books. Join us!
27 thoughts on “PPBF: Ben Franklin’s Big Splash”
This sounds great, Kirsten. I used to always think of inventions. I would never to any good at making prototypes though. Nice to hear from you!
Well, Ben wasn’t all that great either at first. There’s a great spread where he starts sinking. Ha, ha. But I admire his perseverance.
Just got this one from my library yesterday – can’t wait to dig into it!
Oh yay! Don’t you love it when good books arrive at just the right time?
Looks like a keeper … a counselor can never have enough perseverance-themed titles! Thanks.
Oh yes, as a counselor, you could definitely use this one.
You sold me. This is a great book to help kids understand that a famous man like Franklin was a kid once, and to learn where his early curiosity began. Swimming fins — who would have guessed. Love books like this.
Rosenstock really reinforces the value of curiosity and perseverance.
Waiting for the ‘next episode’ – a sequel, please!
Ben Franklin’s Big Zap? Adventures in Lightning Research.
Yes! I just wanted to kmow more at the end!
Thanks to Ben, I enjoyed my vacation (snorkeling!). He was a renaissance man with his finger in so many aspects of life, not surprised that it started in childhood. Looks like a great book.
Thumbs up for snorkeling thanks to Ben and whoever improved his idea. Otherwise you would have sunk.
What a great angle the author found for a PB biography! I will definitely look for this one. Thanks!
It’s historical fiction, and she does talk about her sources, and what she knows versus doesn’t know. It’s always fascinating how it all comes together.
Great! Sad but true, nearly everything I know about American presidents I read about in picture books!
Then I think you got all the important and fun parts of history! 🙂
Great choice, Kirsten. I learn something new everytime on PPBF. 🙂
I’ve missed PPBF. I only got through a few posts this morning, and already my “hold” list at the library has grown exponentially.
Looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for taking time to share it. Best of luck with all your projects.
I learned of Ben Franklin’s swimming passion in Kristen Fulton’s Nonfiction Archaeology class. It’s fascinating to learn new things about the “famous” people from the past.
I love how it humanizes “great” people. Everyone needs a hobby. 🙂
I think it’s most fun to learn they are human with hobbies and weaknesses.
great review – and reminder to pull my copy out from the basket and read it!
It’s such a fun story, even though it’s recommended for 8+ my little one loves it.
Kristen – this looks fascinating. May just have to pick it up! Thanks!
Oh, Wow! Who knew?! Ben Franklin a swimmer?! Awesome! I need to find this one! Thanks Ms Larson!!