Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares

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Reflection Haiku
October 23, 2010
Very highly recommended, this Step 4 book that comes with longer paragraphs for ready readers grades 2-3 introduces kids to Benjamin Franklin, one of the greatest figure in the American history - his life and his many accomplishments through humorous texts and vivid illustrations. It starts with Ben as a curious and inventive kid, to his famous newspaper (The Pennsylvania Gazette), his Almanac as well as his well-known quotes such as "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". BEN FRANKLIN AND THE MAGIC SQUARES also reveals many inventions that are attributed to him and adds dimensions to the Ben Franklin whom I simply know as a great writer who helped Jefferson write the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Over the years, he also started America's first library, first fire station, first hospital and when he was a clerk for the Assembly, he invented the magic squares. I am very happy that my kids get to know this founding father first from the book: his greatness is fully humanized and the kids also get to meet his cute squirrel pet, Skugg. In one book, kids learn good English,great American hero and also amazing math - Franklin's magic square that the sum in any vertical, horizontal and diagonal row and colume will all add up to the same number - 15! This book, like what Ben shouted, is itself "magically magic".
M. Allen Greenbaum
December 1, 2001
This is a whimsical book that still adheres fairly close to facts about the muti-talented Benjamin Franklin. (Frank Murphy notes on the last page that Franklin really did have a pet squirrel, something that I thought was the author's invention). The book highlights Franklin's lifelong knack for inventions and chronicles his achievements as a publisher, sciencist, writer, and patriot. The book also introduces magic squares, showing how Frankinn invented one as he sat, bored, waiting to take notes for the Pennsylvania Colonial Assembly. There's a good explanation of magic squares (a nine-cell table in which 3 numbers counted vertically, horizontally, or diagonally add to the same number), and instructions on how to make your own magic square. With 48 pages and colorful, evocative pictures, this book will appeal to the young reader, historian, and scientist.
Lisa A Raun
June 10, 2001
Mr. Murphy has a way of bringing history "to life" with his wonderful and witty account of Ben Franklin's tale. This book is extremely well written and will captivate an audience of any age. The younger children will enjoy the illustrations, especially Ben's pet squirrel Skugg, and older children creating their own magic squares! The fun continues well after you are finished reading the book! I am eagerly awaiting Mr. Murphy's next books!! (and "just a tip"... look for Mr. Murphy's picture at the end of the story!)