Cover image for Ben Franklin's big splash : the mostly true story of his first invention
Ben Franklin's big splash : the mostly true story of his first invention
Rosenstock, Barb, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Honesdale, Pennsylvania : Calkins Creek, an imprint of Highlights, [2014]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
"Ben Franklin loved to swim and, at the age of eleven, he was determined to swim like a fish--fins and all. This ... account of young Ben's earliest invention follows the budding scientist's journey as he tests and retests his swim fins. That first big splash led Ben to even more innovations and inventions. Includes Franklin quotes, a timeline, bibliography, and source notes"
Reading Level:
1070 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.4 0.5 167380.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



A National Science Teachers Association, Best STEM Book

Every inventor has to start somewhere, and one of the greatest innovators in our history was no exception. Ben Franklin developed his first invention while doing what he loved best: swimming! Ben's Big Splash is the story of Franklin's first invention, his journey through the scientific method, and the surprising successes that result when you're willing to make mistakes. Barb Rosenstock's rhythmic, whimsical style is the perfect complement to S. D. Schindler's pen and ink and watercolor illustrations. Together they recreate history in an engaging and unique way. Both author and illustrator worked closely with Franklin experts, and the book includes Franklin quotes, an extensive author's note, timeline, and bibliography.

Author Notes

Barb Rosenstock loves inventing stories. Her award-winning picture books include: Fearless , The Littlest Mountain , The Camping Trip that Changed America , Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library , The Noisy Paintbox , and The Streak: How Joe DiMaggio Became America's Hero . She lives outside of Chicago with her husband, two sons, and two big poodles. Even though you can find Barb at the pool three times a week, she still doesn't swim like a fish (or even as good as Ben Franklin!).

S.D. Schindler embraces the inventive spirit every time he illustrates a book--and he has illustrated many! An award-winning and best-selling illustrator, his recent titles include: We're Going on a Ghost Hunt by Susan Pearson, Hornbooks and Inkwells by Verla Kay, and The Unforgettable Season by Phil Bildner. His books have won a Parents' Choice Award for Illustration, a Smithsonian Award for outstanding natural history title, and a Best Book selection by School Library Journal . S.D. lives in Philadelphia.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Statesman and inventor Benjamin Franklin got an early start on the creative portion of his résumé. As an 11-year-old swimming fan, he was not content to idly paddle Boston's Charles River. Instead, he pondered important questions such as, Why can't I swim like a fish? which led him to his first inventions: swim fins and sandals. Basing her account on an excerpt from a letter Franklin sent to a fellow scientist in 1773, Rosenstock fictionalizes somewhat in describing how Franklin constructed these wooden swim aids. She also spotlights his curiosity and emphasizes the steps of the scientific method (problem, research, hypothesis, test, analyze, conclude) in describing Franklin's thought processes. Schindler's ink-and-­watercolor illustrations pick up the comical nuances of the text (especially Rosenstock's penchant for vivid alliterative verbs) and convey the imagination required for invention. Appended with a list of Franklin's inventions, source notes, and time line. Pair with Gloria Whelan's Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine (2014) for another inventive historical swimming story.--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2014 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-7-Did you know that it was once believed that swimming would make you sick? How about that very few sailors in colonial times knew how to swim? Before the world knew famous inventor Benjamin Franklin, stinky Ben took to the sea and splashed his way through his first invention, the swim fins. Listeners will learn how young Ben analyzed the swimming patterns of a variety of aquatic creatures, including otters, turtles, and fish, to craft his unique invention. Susie Berneis's narration is strong, but listeners may find it difficult to visualize the actions with text alone. A variety of sound effects aid the narration, making it an enjoyable listening experience. VERDICT A worthwhile purchase if paired with the print edition.-Amanda Schiavulli, Finger Lakes Library System, NY © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.