By Matthew McElligott and Larry Tuxbury
Putnam Juvenile, $12.99, 150 pages
Years and years ago, the Modern Order of Prometheus placed numerous great minds from history into suspended animation so that their wisdom would serve later generations in times of crisis. Benjamin Franklin awoke early and now works with his young friend Victor to keep the world safe from all manner of threats both bizarre and diabolical. But when vampires appear to have invaded Philadelphia, can Ben and Victor solve the mystery behind the vampires and that weird bike shop offering great deals?
Joyous, silly and revisionist, Benjamin Franklinstein Meets the Fright Brothers is a terrific mix of history and storytelling, dropping in genuine tidbits of knowledge even as the authors unleash these historical icons into their weird little private sandbox. Ben is enthusiastic and goofy, like that uncle everyone seems to have; and Victor is a great protagonist, full of sparks but hardly perfect. His more close-minded moments in the book make him far more believable than most of the effortlessly perfect heroes of other young adult books.
Missing the first book in the series didn’t hamper the read at all, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where Ben and Victor find themselves next.
Reviewed by Glenn Dallas