A Dangerous Engine by Joan Dash
Benjamin Franklin, from Scientist to Diplomat (Frances Foster Books)

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At the time of his famous kite experiment, Benjamin Franklin was unaware that his theories about electricity had already made him a celebrity all over Europe, especially in France, where fashionable circles loved to discuss scientific discovery. Admired by the French court and beloved by French citizens, Franklin effectively became America’s first foreign diplomat, later helping to enlist France’s military and financial support for the American Revolution. A father of the revolution and a
signer of the Constitution, Franklin was a lightning rod in political circles – “a dangerous Engine,” according to a critic. And although he devoted the last twenty-five years of his life to affairs of state, his first love was always science. Handsome pen-and-ink drawings highlight moments in this revolutionary thinker’s life. From the author and illustrator of The Longitude Prize, a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book and winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, comes another story of adventure and invention, of one man’s curiosity and the extraordinary rewards of his discoveries, just in time to celebrate the 300th anniversary of his birth (January 17, 1706).


About Joan Dash

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JOAN DASH is the author of several notable books for young readers. She lives in Seattle, Washington.   Dušan Petricic illustrated many acclaimed children’s books. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Published December 27, 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Characterizing Franklin as a “speckled” man, who “changed, took up new roles, found new motives within himself” over his long career, Dash also recounts his later diplomatic triumphs in full, without glossing over his youthful misadventures or occasional lack of candor.

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Publishers Weekly

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The chapters devoted to science prove the most compelling, as Dash describes his impact as a scientist, from his invention of the bifocals, to his famous kite experiment with electricity to his "sentry-box" experiment (an early version of the lightning rod), which he described in a letter to the ...

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Curiosity was Franklin's keyThe 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth has inspired several new books for young readers, and Joan Dash's A Dangerous Engine: Benjamin Franklin, From Scientist to Diplomat is one of the best.

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