School Library Journal

School Library Journal: Benjamin Franklinstein Lives!

Gr 4-6–Benjamin Franklin never died. Instead, a secret organization called the Modern Order of Prometheus, of which he was a member, placed him in suspended animation in a hidden Philadelphia cellar, to serve the nation at a later time. In the 21st century, Franklin indeed awakes, but the Prometheans are nowhere to be found. Above the cellar live a young science nerd, Victor Godwin, and his mother. Franklin, trying to understand why he has been awakened, asks to rent a room in the house. Even though he does smell a little like he has spent too much time in a cave and has a greenish complexion, Victor’s mom is happy to oblige–after all, he pays the deposit in 1783 gold coins. Franklin also needs regular charges of electricity to stay alive, but when hit by lightning, he temporarily transforms into a real Franklinstein. Victor is one of the funniest nerds in children’s literature. He doesn’t take long to divine Franklin’s secret and is off on expeditions to help him find the Prometheans while trying, with the famous inventor’s help, to win top prize in the school science fair. The mock 18th-century illustrations are great fun, and readers can look forward to sequels.–Walter Minkel, Austin Public Library