Thursday, July 2, 2015

Summer Reading 2015 Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain in my...


Many of us have had assignments for class that we thought were lame - the dreaded "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" essay, for example. But Ike has to write a letter to someone from history to get extra credit, and he picks Benjamin Franklin since his father named him after the famous inventor (Franklin Isaac "Ike" Saturday). So he writes to Mr. Franklin and displays a lot of 7th grade sarcasm, but he also tells Ben some of his current problems in middle school life. Through a strange quirk of the post office, when Ike puts a vintage stamp on the letter and actually drops it in the mailbox, Benjamin Franklin receives it and they begin writing back and forth. 

Imagine, one of the founding fathers of our country sending advice to a lovesick seventh grader. Ben tells Ike that he doesn't appreciate being referred to as "B-Freezy" or a "stringy-haired windbag," but that he does feel sympathetic toward Ike's lack of popularity in middle school, since he has to contend with Thomas Jefferson getting all the attention while they are writing the Declaration of Independence. They continue sending each other advice, Ben telling Ike about his own pursuit of lady friends and Ike telling Ben about future events in U.S. history, until there is a major problem. Those of you who are familiar with stories that involve time travel know all about the dangers of derailing the timeline by tampering with the past..Let's just leave it at that, shall we? It does set up the story very well for a sequel, because some situations will need to be repaired or it could be the end of the world as we know it.

Ike's voice is a very convincing portrayal of middle school life and Ben's letters show us a humorous side of the Committee of Five and the founding fathers that history class does not usually reveal. Readers who enjoy historical fiction, or humorous stories with historical figures mixed in, will have an entertaining read with this book. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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