Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Biographical picture books from Candlewick Press: Ben Franklin & Alfred Russel Wallace [Review/Spotlight & Giveaway US/CANADA]

A Ben of All Trades: The Most Inventive Boyhood of Benjamin Franklin by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Matt Tavares

ISBN: 9781536201215
Hardcover | $16.99
Candlewick Press
Ages 5-9
My thoughts: 
Another superb early reader's biography that will promote interest in reading non-fiction books. A Ben of All Trades recounts in prose the young reader will find easy enough to read, well constructed, and informative enough that it will capture their attention providing entertaining education.

This is a retelling of information gleaned from Ben Franklin's own memoirs. While history aptly records the famous and varied life of Mr. Franklin, A Ben of All Trades provides a look at the activities and likes and dislikes that shaped the young Ben. It also, subtly, provides a look at life in general for a young boy of that time in history.

The artistry of Matt Tavares is beautifully done capturing the period and joy and disappointments of young Ben. I love the entire layout of the book and the pleasant, classic sense of illustration.

I highly recommend this book.

About the book: Young Benjamin Franklin wants to be a sailor, but his father won’t hear of it. The other trades he tries — candle maker, joiner, boot closer, turner — bore him through and through. Curious and inventive, Ben prefers to read, swim, fly his kite, and fly his kite while swimming. But each time he fails to find a profession, he takes some important bit of knowledge with him. That tendency is exactly what leads him to become the astonishingly versatile genius we remember today. Inspired by The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Michael J. Rosen’s wry tale captures Ben’s spirit in evocative yet playful language, while illustrations by Matt Tavares follow Ben from the workbench to the water in vivid detail. A love story to the value of variety, A Ben of All Trades sheds light on an unconventional path to greatness and humanizes a towering figure in American history.

Darwin's Rival: Alfred Russel Wallace and the Search for Evolution by Christiane Dorion and illustrated by Harry Tennant

ISBN: 9781536209327
Hardcover | $24.99
Ages 10 & Up
Candlewick Press
My thoughts: 
Fully recognizing that this picture book biography is about a man's search and endorsement of Darwin's evolution, I still believe that I, who does not embrace the evolutionary concept, can benefit from reading about early scientists and their discoveries. I also think that in non-evolution households that children should be able to learn from books such as this.

The travels and experiences of Alfred Russel Wallace were daunting when he pursued his search for beetles and they are daunting to read about today causing one to marvel and, yes, appreciate the obstacles  encountered and his tenacious spirit to forge ahead through various wildernesses throughout the world and make discoveries and comparisons of his findings.

Not only were his travels fraught with discomfort, hardship, and dangers he did not have a wealth of scientific tools with which to work or much scientific basis and discoveries on which to build. It was new. It was hard. It was astounding. He marveled at his findings. 

The illustrations are nicely done and representative of Wallace's discoveries.

About the book: Everyone knows Charles Darwin, the famous naturalist who proposed a theory of evolution. But not everyone knows the story of Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin’s friend and rival who simultaneously discovered the process of natural selection. This sumptuously illustrated book tells Wallace’s story, from his humble beginnings to his adventures in the Amazon rain forest and Malay Archipelago, and demonstrates the great contribution he made to one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time.
Begins June 2
Ends July 1 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA and CANADA addresses
(No P.O. Boxes & NO business addresses)
Canadian winners must provide phone number
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies from the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copies are provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist.

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