From a much-experienced biographer, a life of the protean writer-philosopher-scientist-statesman that readers should find both entertaining and memorable. From Franklin's Boston birth (1706) to his death in Philadelphia (1790), Meltzer seamlessly weaves the events of his life into the context of the times in which they occurred: his early search for an occupation within the Colonial apprenticeship system; his role of politician and diplomat on the seesaw of 18th-century political history. Chapters on his work as a scientist and a writer are especially interesting, giving a new appreciation of his innovations and inventions. Meltzer sees Franklin with a clear, unbiased eye, scrupulously recording faults as well as virtues. Although his writing is more vigorous than elegant, and there are minor stylistic lapses, Franklin springs to life on every page. Format is attractive; contemporary prints illustrate most major events. This should become a standard work in juvenile library collections.