Benjamin Franklin has always fascinated me. A Founding Father of the United States, he possessed a vast array of talents as an author, printer, politician, inventor, scientist, and soldier. One of the first introductions to Ben Franklin that we bought for our kids was the Step Into Reading book below. I generally think of those books as being kind of cheesy, but this one really appealed to Paulie with it's advertisement of *magic*. Paulie has a wide interest in math and the description of mathematical process of the numbered squares and the magical outcome really caught his attention and quickly made Ben Franklin one of his first biography interests. There are several websites, including this one, with more information about Ben Franklin's magic squares if you're interested.
Now & Ben focuses on more of Ben Franklin's inventions, shown in picture book format, with an invention we now take for granted shown beside the idea that Ben came up with to facilitate the invention. A nice synopsis for the slightly younger set to familiarize them with the enormous amount of inventions we have now because of Ben's ideas.
Ben and Me is more of a tongue-in-cheek biography, to use that word loosely, of Ben Franklin and his pet mouse, Amos. The story is told from Amos's point of view, and according to Amos, most of Ben's inventions came largely from Amos's ideas. Although some critics don't appreciate the way the writer makes Ben sound less than intelligent and the mouse sound sometimes derisive toward his master, I really appreciated the more humorous approach to the historical telling of Ben Franklin's inventions. I also liked the language of the book, which was kind of typical of the 1930s when the book was written, and the more robust vocabulary than you often find in current children's biographies.