Cover image for Ben Franklin and the magic squares
Ben Franklin and the magic squares
Murphy, Frank, 1952-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, 2001.
Physical Description:
48 pages ; 24 cm.
Shows how Benjamin Franklin, inventor, writer and scientist, created a puzzle called the magic square to keep from being bored while serving as clerk for the Pennsylvania Assembly. Includes step-by-step instructions for creating your own magic squares.
Reading Level:
400 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.6 0.5 69709.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 2.6 3 Quiz: 24345 Guided reading level: L.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Newstead Library READER Juvenile Fiction Readers
Collins Library READER Juvenile Fiction Readers
Orchard Park Library READER Juvenile Fiction Readers
Williamsville Library READER Juvenile Fiction Readers
Bookmobile Library READER Juvenile Fiction Bookmobile

On Order



A funny, entertaining introduction to Ben Franklin and his many inventions, including the story of how he created the "magic square." A magic square is a box of nine numbers arranged so that any line of three numbers adds up to the same number, including on the diagonal! Teachers and kids will love finding out about this popular teaching tool that is still used in elementary schools today!

Author Notes

Frank Murphy has taught a wide variety of grades at the elementary and middle school level. A popular speaker, Murphy is the author of many fun historical fiction books for young readers. He lives in Holland, PA.

Richard Walz is the illustrator of many humorous historical Step into Reading books. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-3. In this lively offering from the Step into Reading + Math series, young readers will learn about both Benjamin Franklin and magic squares--square grids of numerals in which all the numbers in any vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row adds up to the same sum. The text introduces Franklin as a smart, curious kid whose ideas led him to "inventing cool things"; as a witty, intelligent man whose ideas were the seeds of America's first library, fire station, and hospital; and as a "super busy guy" who amused himself during meetings of the Pennsylvania Colonial Assembly by creating magic squares. An appended section offers step-by-step directions for those who want to construct their own versions of the mathematical puzzle. The engaging, informal style of the writing and the colorful, cartoonlike illustrations make this a playful but solid choice for introducing young readers to Franklin and to magic squares. --Carolyn Phelan

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