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Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin

Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin

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Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin

ratings:
4/5 (16 ratings)
Length:
39 pages
19 minutes
Released:
Mar 7, 2006
ISBN:
9781429917315
Format:
Book

Description

The inventions and inspiration of Benjamin Franklin and how they've stood the test of time

What would you do if you lived in a community without a library, hospital, post office, or fire department? If you were Benjamin Franklin, you'd set up these organizations yourself. Franklin also designed the lightning rod, suggested the idea of daylight savings time, and invented bifocals-all inspired by his common sense and intelligence. In this informative book, Gene Barretta brings Benjamin Franklin's genius to life, deepening our appreciation for one of the most influential figures in American history.

Now & Ben is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Released:
Mar 7, 2006
ISBN:
9781429917315
Format:
Book

About the author

Gene Barretta is the author and illustrator of Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin; Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci and Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives. He is also author and illustrator of Dear Deer, which was a Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts and listed on the Parenting Magazine Mom-Tested Books of the Year List. He holds a B.F.A. in Film Studies from New York University, and has worked for many years in film and television production. He lives in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania with his son.


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Now & Ben - Gene Barretta

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Reviews

What people think about Now & Ben

4.1
16 ratings / 24 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (2/5)
    great book BAD translation. Words are jumbled! Total bummer as a resource for classroom
  • (4/5)
    This text is a completely different look at Benjamin Franklin from the “Electric Ben” text I reviewed earlier. The author chose to use creative cartoon like illustrations, include all of the inventions that we still use today and divide the book down the middle. By including colorful and vivid drawings that are similar to ones they might see on television, the author manages to draw in young readers. The author also chose to include inventions that many young students may use in their daily lives; this makes the text very relatable for readers. Finally I really enjoyed how the book was divided down the gutter, one side being “then” when Benjamin Franklin originally invented the item and the other side being “now” how those items look in the modern day. This captivating and informative text easily demonstrates the author’s main message that Benjamin Franklin, as an inventor, is still relevant to us today.
  • (5/5)
    This was a really interesting biography, which I don’t usually enjoy reading. The book was organized perfectly! I loved how one page introduced the invention that is used in today’s world then the next page had the part that Ben played in that invention. It was a clever twist on now and then by using now and Ben, which really caught my attention and kept me wanting to learn more. It included information with dates in history so that we could learn more and research more if you wanted to. I really loved the illustrations in this book because they all depicted what the invention was and how it was being used now and then. Without the pictures, the story wouldn’t have been as understandable since I had to see some of the inventions to fully understand what they were and how they were used. The emotions on Ben’s face in each picture really added to the story as well. You could tell when he was thinking, when he was excited and other emotions that helped to understand the story. Biographies are usually considered boring, but this one really makes you think outside the box and apply history to today’s world. The big idea is to get you thinking about how influential Ben Franklin was and makes you want to look for more of his inventions throughout today’s world.
  • (5/5)
    This book was great! It is perfect to read to children because of the past and present comparisons. Picture book biographies are awesome because they introduce influential people to children in an understandable way, people they might not hear about otherwise. This book takes that a step further by introducing readers to what was made in the past and how we use it/how it exists in the future/present... this inclusion makes Ben Franklin and his contributions real and tangible for students. Great illustrations as well.
  • (5/5)
    I really enjoyed this book because of its fun illustrations and the set up of the story using a comparison between past and present.
  • (3/5)
    I enjoyed reading this book. There were many inventions mentioned that I didn't know were originally from Benjamin Franklin. I liked the pacing and pattern of the writing. The "now and ben..."" reoccurring theme kept me intrigued and interested. The author was comparing the two time spans but did it cleverly. Most informational texts are word-heavy and uninteresting but this author appealed to the readers in adding many pictures and eye-catching illustrations. The author got the sense that children wouldn't want to read a book that was full of words so he made it more picture-based. Although the book was non-fiction, it didn't seem that way. It made learning about Benjamin Franklin fun. Another aspect that the author executed nicely was the point of view. Although it was told in third person, he expressed the viewpoint of Benjamin Franklin in a well-organized way. Not only did the author include the inventions that Franklin made but he also included his intentions. For example, Franklin created the odometer so that he could measure his postal routes. If I didn't know this background information I would have thought that it was a simple invention that he just thought of, not that it was inspired by his postal routes or that it was for his benefit. This book's main message is to inform readers about Benjamin Franklin and his impact on today's world.
  • (4/5)
    I liked "Now and Ben" by Gene Barretta. I enjoyed the comical illustrations that helped to show how Ben Franklin's inventions impacted and are still in use today. i though the Author does a great job of making connections to the period of time that Ben Franklin was alive and inventing and current day. I think the author's main idea was showing the reader how Ben Franklin great work's still influence the world around us and he did a great job with the back and forth concept.
  • (5/5)
    I really enjoyed reading this book because it made a biography fun. The illustrations were very modern and animated with bright colors. This was extremely engaging and added a lot to the text. Another thing I liked was how it outlined all the inventions Ben Franklin created. I really enjoyed this part because I learned that he made things I did not even realize before. For example, he made the desk chair with the side arm. I had no idea this was created by Ben Franklin and it's still used today! I think the big message of the book is to use your gifts because it impacts the future.
  • (3/5)
    For a biography book that typically would bore children this one was very interesting. I like how the end pages were pictures with timelines of Benjamin Franklin's life. The author used playful language such as, "As if Ben could see into the future." The author related what inventions we have now to how Ben Franklin attributed to make it possible instead of simply stating what he made. The author once again playfully did this by putting "Now.." on one page of the technology or item we have today, and "Ben.." on the other page relating to how he helped make these things possible today. I found it to be an excellent and interesting way to teach children of all the things Ben Franklin did. The main message of this book was purely informational on a historical figure.
  • (5/5)
    This book had a very unique set up to it and I really enjoyed reading it. The organization of it was very smooth to read and it was visually appealing. I think that the big idea of this book is to show readers exactly where things come from and to understand and appreciate the hard work and dedication that went in to making them. A specific factor that I enjoyed about this book was the illustrations throughout. I think that they depicted the invention and how it was thought of in a distinct yet clear manner. The illustrate did a great job capturing the emotion of Benjamin's face throughout the story as well. Another factor I enjoyed about this book was the comparison between the present day and the past. The author told what the invention was in today's world on one page and then how the invention looked and was made in the past. I think that the illustrations did a great job with the details within each invention.
  • (4/5)
    I loved this book. I really liked the differences between the pages on the left and the pages on the right. On the left side, it showed the inventions that we have now and what each is used for. On the right side, it showed Ben and how he invented each of these new inventions. I also liked the end pages because it showed different things Ben Franklin invented such as the kite experiment, the odometer, and bifocals.
  • (3/5)
    I thought this was a great book. I liked this book because of the end pages and because of the illustrations. The end pages really added to the biography because they had on them dozens of small pictures of things related to Ben Franklin. For example, there were pictures of library chairs and bifocals. These end pages connected the story from front to back and it gave a little foreshadowing as to what Franklin did. I also loved the illustrations because they were drawn in cartoon. This drawing style makes it much easier for a younger audience to connect to and find entertaining. I especially like the picture of Ben Franklin using a kite and a metal rod to conduct electricity. The main message I took from this is that Ben Franklin was an incredible, historic man who contributed a great deal to American society and science.
  • (4/5)
    The extraordinary contributions of that eighteenth-century American scientist, author and politician, Benjamin Franklin - his innovations in fields as diverse as electricity and newspaper-printing - are set out here in Gene Barretta's attractive picture-book, ideally suited to younger readers with an interest in invention and discovery. Each two-page spread is devoted to a particular idea or invention, contrasting the scene now, and the scene "Ben" - now we expect that our newspapers will include cartoons, while Ben was the first American printer to include political cartoons in his newspapers; now we rely on services provided by institutions like the library and the hospital, while Ben was the first to establish such places, in his city (Philadelphia) - while the decorative endpapers set out a time-line of Franklin's inventions, and groundbreaking ideas.With a fascinating, fact-filled text that emphasizes how much Benjamin Franklin's ideas and innovations still affect us today, and engaging watercolor illustrations that add humor to the reading experience, Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin is a book I would wholeheartedly recommend, to any younger children with an interest in invention, and/or Benjamin Franklin. Less of a biography, than a list of inventions and ideas - this is one of our November selections, over in the Picture-Book Club to which I belong, where our theme this month is inventors and inventions - I think it might benefit from being paired with a more traditional account of Franklin's life, for those children interested in the man himself, but as an exploration of the influence of Franklin's ideas, it is top notch! Highly recommend to all young Franklin lovers - I was very taken myself, when a girl, with the kite and key story - and to children with an interest in invention!
  • (3/5)
    “Now and Ben” is a great book that has a main message of things that are created help to make new thing better. This is done through the illustrations and the writing style. The illustrations are amazing in that it shows the creation in the back and then how it is implemented now. For instance it shows the first desk and why it was created and then it shows a newer version of the same desk and how it is used today for the same purpose. The writing style of this book is also interesting in that the words now and then are in different colors and the size of the letters. This helped to emphasize the relationship with in the past and present and how Ben was connected to all of the things. Also the way the words are written around the page in a non-traditional straight way allowed for the reader to follow it in a whimsical way.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed reading this biography of Benjamin Franklin. One aspect I liked about this book was the layout of the book. For example, the author mentioned a piece of modern day life, then explained how Ben Franklin influenced or created it. Another aspect of this book that I liked was the illustrations. I liked that the illustrations were fun and child-like. I liked how Ben Franklin in this book was portrayed as happy and less serious than he is normally portrayed. The main message of this book is to inform about Ben Franklin’s life and influence on modern day life.
  • (5/5)
    I really enjoyed this book for a few reasons. I like how it was an entertaining way to learn about Ben Franklin and all his accomplishments. I really liked the writing and how the book was set up. On one page it would say “Now…” and talk about something that is in the world today such as the desks in a classroom, and on the other page it would say, “Ben….” and talk about how that invention would not be in the world today without him. I thought this was a cute way to show the things Ben had created and how we still use them in the world today. I also really enjoyed some of the wording that is not necessarily known in today society such as bifocals, meaning glasses. I think it helps the reader feel more like they are back in time when reading the book. I think the overall message of this book was to inform readers about Ben Franklin and how a lot of things in today’s world would not be here if was not for him.
  • (5/5)
    “Now and Ben” is a biography that explains Benjamin Franklin's inventions. What I liked most was that not only was the reader informed of his inventions and what they were like at that time, but what we use them for now. For example, originally Benjamin Franklin designed bifocals because he was tired of switching glasses. Now it is common for people to use bifocals. I also really enjoyed that the end pages was a time-line of his inventions, it was a nice reference. The main idea of this book was to inform the reader of Benjamin Franklin's inventions and how they are still important to us today many years later.  
  • (5/5)
    I loved the illustrations of this book; it started with a picture of Ben Franklin’s face in a frame that looked like the front of the dollar bill. I also liked how on every set of consecutive pages the first page started with NOW…. In a different sized and colored font then described how we are using a technology that Benjamin Franklin discovered. Then on the next page, it began with BEN…. Using the same font as NOW, but a different color. The descriptive paragraph went on to describe how Benjamin Franklin discovered or invented the technology that we are still using. I enjoyed how the book connected the past with right now. The theme of the book was a biography of the inventions and discoveries that Benjamin Franklin made and we are still using.
  • (3/5)
    “Now and Ben” is a story about all of Benjamin Franklin’s inventions and how they are still being used today. The main idea of this story was to show the importance of Ben Franklin’s inventions and their relevance today. One way the author got this message across was by splitting the pages in half. On one half they put “Ben….” and then described one of Ben Frankin’s inventions. On the other half of the paper the author wrote “Now…” and then described how this invention is used still today or how its modification is used now. By doing this the reader is easily able to distinguish between the past and the present. It also enforces how a previous invention is still being used today. Another way the author enforced the message was by using a wide range of Franklin’s inventions. The book covered inventions from the grabber all the way the electricity. This way the reader is able to see that Franklin gave us some inventions that we can’t live without today but also gave us from helpful and fun inventions as well. I found this to be a very fun book that was also easy to follow while at the same time being very informational. Often in this generation it is easy to forget that a person has invented everything that we use and this book enforces how Benjamin Franklin was one of those influential people in a fun way. The images in this book were also very crucial to the meaning as they enforced what some of the inventions were if the reader did not know them right away by the name. The “Ben” pictures also used clothing and environment from Benjamin Franklin’s time period to enforce how long ago it really was.
  • (4/5)
    Summary:This book gives a wonderful simplistic view into the early invetions of an icon in this specific catagory.It gives an indepth yet intestesting look at these inventions that isn't so dry it can actually keep a young reader captivated. With a sunny aray of vivid colors and friendly cartoon charactures this book walks a young reader through some of the most illustrious inventions of Ben Franklin. Inventions such as electricity, and even his lesser known inventions such as the writing chair, which mimics the modern day classroom chair for middle and highschool students. With his bright blue coat he also coasts the reader through the miriad of other inventions still being used today, such as bifocals, and swimfins.So all in all this book is a good opening look in to the inventions of Ben Franklin that made him such an icon in this field.Personal Reaction:I really liked this book because it did a great job on illustrating the inventions of Ben Franklin. The pictures were great, and it's a great nonfiction book for kids.Classroom Extension:1. In the classroom, the teacher could have their students make their own inventions and explain to the class what their inventions are.2. In the classroom, the teacher could have their students create a timeline of Ben Franklins inventions.
  • (2/5)
    Great way to show how one person can change the world. How what one person dose can still effect us today.
  • (5/5)
    This is a really neat book! It is about many inventions that we currently use today, and how each was invented by Benjamin Franklin. Some of the many inventions discussed are: Newspaper cartoons, bifocals, electricity, lightening rods, and the Grabber. It even features some modifications that Benjamin Franklin made on common things, such as rocking chairs, and how he helped us understand the benefits of eating vitamin C. Overall, this is an incredible book that could help engage children in history as well as science, and should really be in every elementary classroom library.
  • (5/5)
    This book is a great way to connect students with Benjamin Franklin. It does a great job at showing what he invented and how they are still in use today. One idem he came up with was a desk and chair as a single unit, this model is still used in many schools today. These pictures are very cartoony but make the book fun. The book is short and sweet, but does a great job at connecting Benjamin Franklin to today. This book would be good for early readers, but could be used in all k-6 classes.
  • (4/5)
    The continuously bad pun aside, this is a well illustrated, simply written book; its real power is in connecting history with today's world. An 'A' for relevance.