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But soon the straightforward American inventor Benjamin Franklin is upstaged by a compelling and enigmatic figure: Dr. Mesmer. In elaborately staged shows, Mesmer, wearing a fancy coat of purple silk and carrying an iron wand, convinces the people of Paris that he controls a magic force that can make water taste like a hundred different things, cure illness, and control thoughts But Ben Franklin is not convinced. Will his practical approach of observing, hypothesizing, and testing get to the bottom of the mysterious Mesmer's tricks? A rip-roaring, lavishly illustrated peek into a fascinating moment in history shows the development and practice of the scientific method--and reveals the amazing power of the human mind.
- ISBN-13: 9780763663513
- ISBN-10: 0763663514
- Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
- Publish Date: March 2015
- Page Count: 48
- Reading Level: Ages 6-9
- Dimensions: 9.5 x 10.9 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-12-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Rockliff (Me and Momma and Big John) sashays into the scientific and political world of the late 18th century with a playful narrative that explains the origin of the word “mesmerized” as it details Benjamin Franklin’s role in debunking a miracle cure of the day. Dr. Franz Mesmer’s secretive “medicine” is taking Paris by storm: “When he stared into his patients’ eyes and waved wand, things happened. Women swooned. Men sobbed. Children fell down in fits.” In a gesture of indebtedness to King Louis XVI, Franklin demystifies Mesmer’s techniques using the scientific method, revealing that the man’s “cures” reside in the patients’ heads. Bruno’s realistic, digitally colored illustrations contrast Franklin’s unadorned American sensibilities with the fancier stylings of pre-French Revolution Paris (embellishments include curlicues, bold and flowery typefaces, and optical illusions on the endpapers). A lengthier retelling of the story is included, along with descriptions (printed on old-fashioned medicine bottles) of the placebo effect and how a “blind” scientific study works. A stylish and humorous exploration of the scientific method and the mysteries of the human mind. Ages 6–9. Author’s agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Feb.)