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By Tim E. Ogline

ISBN-13: 978-1-934389-48-5
Price: US $16.99
6x9, 184 pp
eBook ISBN: 978-1-94389-72-0
eBook Price: US $16.99
October 1, 2013

B/W Illustrations

“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you’re dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.”

– Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790


Benjamin Franklin would seem to be the teller – and quite arguably the protagonist – of the Great American Success Story. As America’s prototypical polymath, he excelled – and even defined – a number of professions including printer, writer, postmaster, scientist, inventor, public citizen, politician, and diplomat.

 He was a cornerstone in the foundation of the United States. He discovered practicable uses for electricity. He was America’s first great satirist. He founded the University of Pennsylvania. He invented bifocals. He was a legendary ladies’ man. He was all of these things... and he was so much more.

Ben Franklin For Beginners, written and illustrated by Tim E. Ogline, opens the book on Benjamin Franklin and tells the story of his life and times with wry wit and whimsical drawings


Tim E. Ogline, Principal of Ogline Design in Greater Philadelphia, is an award-winning illustrator whose work has been published by The Philadelphia InquirerThe Wall Street Journal, the Utne ReaderInstitutional Investor, and Philadelphia Style among others. Tim is also a Contributing Editor (and former Art Director) of the Wild River Review (an online literary and arts journal). Ogline has also been an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Temple University’s prestigious Tyler School of Art.


Ben Franklin may well have been the most American of all time. There was hardly any field of endeavor that America over took that he did not influence. He was a skillful politician and diplomat, a world class scientist who discovered the practical uses for electricity. He was an educator who founded the University of Pennsylvania and prompted the first public library system. He was an inventor who gave the world bifocals. He was a printer, a writer, a post-master and a dynamic public citizen. Tim Ogline recounts all this in Ben Franklin For Beginners in prose and cartoons which make it an easy read for adults and children as well. Even American who think they know about Franklin will be surprised and awed to learn about everything that his mastery touched. This is a must read which should inspire Americans who want to know how this great country was built.


– NJ Governor Edward G. Rendell

A well-organized, easy-to-read biography that provides a solid introduction to one of America’s Founding Fathers.


– Kirkus Reviews

As the song says, most American youngsters 'don't know much about history.' Indeed there is an epidemic of historical illiteracy out there in our public schools fully as troubling as the more publicized deficiencies in math and science. Tim Ogline's beguiling book on Ben Franklin represents a kind of verbal vaccine that will address this national illness, giving us a Franklin that kids will find accessible and, as they would say, awesome, while mature scholars will attest is the genuine article.

—  Joseph J. Ellis, Author of Founding Brothers

Ogline’s approach to a young adult-biography hybrid is nothing short of totally brilliant. Ogline explores nearly every facet of Ben Franklin from 'Humorist and Hoaxster' to 'Founder and Framer' all of which read as seamlessly as a fiction narrative. Each page of Ben Franklin For Beginners is adorned with a delightful cast of caricatures, sketches and cartoons of our founding geek. Each illustration succeeds at keeping the reader highly engaged without losing sight of what’s important: learning something. 

— Colleen T. Reese, Geekadelphia

Tim Ogline has rendered a portrait of Philadelphia's First Citizen with witty illustrations and accessible prose, drawing Benjamin Franklin into a person we can get to know ever better and showing us a fresh look at a man of many great talents and even greater accomplishments. Philadelphia is justifiably proud of our favorite son and Ogline has provided a view of our favorite founder (exposing some things we thought we knew, and new insights that shed even more light) in a manner that appeals to young people as well as readers of all ages. 

— Sam Katz, Philadelphia: The Great Experiment, Executive Producer at History Making Productions

In this highly readable offering, Ogline emphasizes that Franklin was an ingenious generalist. Organized in chapters that highlight Franklin’s career as a printer, writer, humorist, inventor, statesman, and founder of a nation, the wide and varied world of Franklin is open to see. Ogline’s illustrations enhance the text with caricaturelike depictions of Franklin flying the kite for the electricity experiment, playing the glass armonica, and perpetrating the hoax on Titan Leeds. Another graphic novel–like sequence shows Franklin’s famous bout with gout. Each chapter begins with a sketch of a public sculpture of Franklin that gives the reader a perfect image of Franklin as a wildly inventive person who was interested in just about everything. Pair this with Russell Freedman’s book Becoming Ben Franklin (2013). Grades 6-9. 

— Martha Edmundson, Booklist

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