Authors: Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon
Illustrator: Guy Francis
Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks
ISBN: 978-1-4169-1804-2

What if,” Zack began in Ben Franklin's Fame (Blast to the Past) , a children’s book written by Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon, “Ben Franklin simply quit his dreams and never became a printer? What if he remained a chandler? What if we light Franklin candles on my next birthday? What if …”

With one hundred and nineteen pages, this paperback book is targeted toward ages seven to ten years old, has no profanity and no questionable or scary scenes. Illustrator Guy Francis paints a stormy scene of Benjamin Franklin flying a kite with four children on the front cover. The back cover has two paragraphs about the book along with a drawing of the famous American and mentions the five prior books in the series. Inside there are ten black and white drawings along with a photograph of the painting “Benjamin Franklin, Printer” by John Ward Dunsmore from 1928. Also included at the end of the book is an explanation by the authors of fact verses fiction about Benjamin Franklin along with a time line, mainly of his inventions.

The main object of this series is to ask young children what if a person in the past did not create, state, make or invent something that changed our lives today but quit instead. This book hones in on the life of Benjamin Franklin, concentrating when he was twelve years old to signing the Declaration of Independence.

This sixth in the series tome is about Abigail and her three third grade friends who are asked by their History Club teacher to go back in time to find out why Benjamin Franklin is no longer in their history books, but the teacher’s prior assistant Babs Magee who stole his first time-travel computer is the one with all the fame on the textbook’s pages. When the children go back to Independence Hall in Pennsylvania to witness the signing of the Declaration of Independence, they learn they are already too late as Magee has stolen Franklin’s limelight. They travel further back to Franklin’s kite escapade proving lightning is a natural form of electricity but the evil woman has pilfered his accomplishment there too. After traveling back several times, they find young Ben as a twelve year old apprentice in his father’s candle-making shop who wants to learn another trade. However, Babs has already been there and forced him to sign a contract to pour candles, changing the fate of history. By having Ben travel with them to his brother James in prison, the four kids help Ben redo the contract but this time with his brother to learn the printing business. This catapults Franklin’s as a printer, which was the beginning of his notoriety, inventions and ideas that made our current day history.

In this book, the reader not only learns about Franklin being an inventor, politician, soldier, statesman, poet, ambassador, shopkeeper, bookseller, printer, cartoonist, scientist, journalist, chess player, weight lifter and loved reading books, but he or she is reminded of the details about Thomas Jefferson rewriting the Declaration of Independence over fifty times, that five men worked on it but fifty-six signed it and even though Congress passed it on July 4, 1776, it was not signed until August 2 the same year. Interesting topics are explained about the Liberty Bell’s crack, Franklin’s three pseudonyms and inventions along with what vocation a cutler, haberdasher, brazier and chandler are.

Once again, both authors do an excellent job describing the multifaceted life of our famous Franklin and how he changed our world, country and lifestyle by educating young children in an adventurous, historical fic

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