HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Poor Richard
Author and Illustrator: James Daugherty
Publisher: Beautiful Feet Books, republished 2000
Related website: http://www.bfbooks.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Daugherty, James. Poor Richard (originally published in 1941 by The Viking Press; republished in 2000 by Beautiful Feet Books, 1306 Mill St., San Luis Obispo, CA 93401). Who was the most famous man in the colonial and revolutionary periods of American history? One possible answer has to be Benjamin Franklin. From his birth at Boston, MA, in 1706, to his death at Philadelphia, PA, in 1790, this lively text chronicles the life of Franklin, who lived in turbulent times and met those times head-on with passion and gusto, including his early childhood, his running away to the City of Brotherly Love, his trips abroad to England and later France, his leadership in the American War for Independence, his status as “elder statesman” of the new republic, and his interests as scientist, inventor, and prolific author. And it is all told in highly readable story form.
The reader will find interesting information and insight into Franklin’s thinking and work that are absent from many other biographies about him for young people. It is noted that while “Franklin had never been a church member and was suspect with the orthodox,” at the same time he “believed in God and that ‘the most acceptable service we can render Him is in doing good to His other children.’ He had, when a young man, composed a touching and fervent prayer for himself which he used daily.” Poor Richard is a must-have for any student who is learning about Ben Franklin. Author James Daugherty, who illustrated the book with energetic and dramatic two-color lithographs, also wrote biographies of Daniel Boone, which won a Newbery Medal in 1940, Abraham Lincoln, and Marcus Whitman.