A Ben of All Trades: The Most Inventive Boyhood of Benjamin Franklin

Illustrator: Matt Tavares

Binding: Hardcover

Imprint: Candlewick Press

Age 5+

Science & Technology: General Interest

A rousing biography from Michael J. Rosen and Matt Tavares reveals how Benjamin Franklin’s boyhood shaped his amazingly multifaceted life.

Young Benjamin Franklin wants to be a sailor, but his father won’t hear of it. The other trades he tries — candle maker, joiner, boot closer, turner — bore him through and through. Curious and inventive, Ben prefers to read, swim, fly his kite, and fly his kite while swimming. But each time he fails to find a profession, he takes some important bit of knowledge with him. That tendency is exactly what leads him to become the astonishingly versatile genius we remember today. Inspired by The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Michael J. Rosen’s wry tale captures Ben’s spirit in evocative yet playful language, while illustrations by Matt Tavares follow Ben from the workbench to the water in vivid detail. A love story to the value of variety, A Ben of All Trades sheds light on an unconventional path to greatness and humanizes a towering figure in American history.


Michael J. Rosen has written or edited more than 135 books for children and adults, including The Tale of Rescue, The Horse’s Haiku, and The Cuckoo’s Haiku, all illustrated by Stan Fellows; The Hound Dog’s Haiku, illustrated by Mary Azarian; and Chanukah Lights, a collaboration with pop-up master Robert Sabuda. Michael J. Rosen lives in the Appalachian foothills of central Ohio.

Matt Tavares is the author-illustrator of many books for children, including Crossing Niagara, Henry Aaron’s Dream, There Goes Ted Williams, Becoming Babe Ruth, and Growing Up Pedro. He also has illustrated books, including Lady Liberty by Doreen Rappaport and Jubilee! by Alicia Potter. Most recently he wrote and illustrated a pair of Christmas stories, Red and Lulu and Dasher. Matt Tavares lives in Ogunquit, Maine.

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