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Review: Mesmerized

April 17, 2015


When Benjamin Franklin was in Paris to drum up support for the American Revolution, the French were enchanted by Dr. Mesmer.  Dr. Mesmer claimed to have power that “streamed from the stars and flowed into his wand.”  He claimed he could cure people with this power so the people turned away from traditional medicine which angered doctors.  The queen loved Dr. Mesmer but the king didn’t know what to think about him so he asked Benjamin Franklin to investigate.

After observing Dr. Mesmer, Ben hypothesized that he was using the power of suggestion to mesmerize people.  Using the scientific method, Ben tested his hypothesis and presented his conclusion to the king causing Dr. Mesmer to leave town.

I loved Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery That Baffled All of France by Mara Rockliff!  The story is simplified for young readers but it was new to me and I found it fascinating. (Rockliff includes notes on the scientific method and more details of the actual events as well as a bibliography in the back of the book.)

Mesmerized is a wonderful introduction to the scientific method, the power of suggestion, and the placebo effect and I was completely captivated by it.  I’ve read it several times and keep flipping through it because it is visually stunning – the page layouts are appealing and Iacopo Bruno’s illustrations are fantastic!  This terrific book needs to be in every library and is a must read for everyone ages six and up – I cannot recommend it enough!

kid konnection newI will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Candlewick Press. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.


22 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2015 5:27 am

    I never heard of this incident. Sounds very interesting, and great that the book is laid out in an appealing way for kids. About what age group do you think it’s for?

  2. April 17, 2015 9:07 am

    Wow! This sounds interesting–for me and for a good historical novel for my grands!

  3. April 17, 2015 9:39 am

    Thanks for choosing a title that I can recommend for my second-grade grandson to read. He is starting to appreciate science and I’m trying to encourage that love at this early age. Besides, I find Ben Franklin a fascinating person in history.

  4. April 17, 2015 10:23 am

    This sounds fascinating, Kathy. Ben Franklin is one of my favorite people in history. Terrific review today!

  5. April 17, 2015 11:16 am

    How intriguing! I do love discovering more about concepts we use regularly, like the word “mesmerized.” Thanks for sharing.

  6. April 17, 2015 12:51 pm

    I’ve never heard about this before. Interesting!

  7. April 17, 2015 2:41 pm

    This does sound wonderful. I love stories geared for young readers that ends up teaching me something

  8. Patty permalink
    April 17, 2015 3:06 pm

    Don’t you just love finding out new facts?

  9. April 17, 2015 6:21 pm

    This definitely is one I will be looking for!

  10. April 17, 2015 6:31 pm

    I am also very fascinated by the placebo effect, especially in homeopathy. This book is fascinating and I would get it just for myself too!

  11. April 17, 2015 6:59 pm

    Your review definitely caught my interest! Thanks for sharing Kathy and have a great weekend of reading!

  12. April 17, 2015 8:00 pm

    This does sound fascinating! Thanks for introducing me to this one.

  13. April 17, 2015 11:51 pm

    This one sounds really interesting! The placebo effect has always fascinated me.

  14. Beth F permalink
    April 18, 2015 7:16 am

    I’ve always been fascinated by the power of suggestion and I like how this book simplifies for a young audience but is still factual and scientific.

  15. April 19, 2015 11:18 am

    Sounds like a really fun read! I remember learning about the scientific method in grade school and this sounds like a great way to explain the process and show it in the works.

  16. April 19, 2015 2:23 pm

    Wonderful! Although I am not quite sure I am fond of ALL the activities Mr. Ben took part in while ‘playing’ in Paris – but what an interesting man. And sounds like a cool book.

  17. April 19, 2015 5:00 pm

    This is completely new to me, and now you’ve made me want to run out and read all about it! So, so cool!

  18. April 20, 2015 2:06 pm

    This sounds interesting

  19. April 20, 2015 5:30 pm

    This is new to me too – sounds really interesting!

  20. April 21, 2015 8:29 pm

    This story is new to me. I’ll have to see if I can find it.

  21. bookingmama permalink
    April 22, 2015 10:03 pm

    I love the sounds of this one. Hopefully I can tempt Booking Son to give a try.

  22. Literary Feline permalink
    April 23, 2015 11:07 am

    What a great sounding book! I hadn’t heard that story either. I will have to look for this one. It might be one to visit with my daughter when she’s a little older. 🙂

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