Academic journal article Language Arts

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery That Baffled All of France

Academic journal article Language Arts

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery That Baffled All of France

Article excerpt

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery That Baffled All of France Written by Mara RockliffIllustrated by Iacopo Bruno Candlewick, 2015, 45 pp., ISBN 978-0- 7636- 6351- 3

This story begins with a mature Ben Franklin travelling to France to seek support for American Revolutionaries. The illustration seems to fit this solemn purpose, until one's eye is drawn to the exaggerated depiction of the already extravagant Marie Antoinette (and to the apparent Kraken in the Atlantic). Throughout, the book blends historical information and images with entertaining expressions and word play. Franklin found Parisians focused on this remarkable, thrilling, and strange thing called science, and on the scientific method Franklin used to gather evidence to support his hypothesis that "lightning was the same as electricity" (p. 8). Enter Dr. Mesmer-in a richly framed, double-page spread with his name in enormous white glided letters-and his pseudoscience of mesmerizing healing through "animal magnetism" (p. 44). Franklin was "PLAIN and SIMPLE" (p. 12), described in a traditional serif font. …

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