The Hatmaker's Sign: A Story by Benjamin Franklin

by Candace Fleming and Robert Andrew Parker

Thrilled with his completion of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson... read more

Thrilled with his completion of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson can't wait to show it to the Continental Congress. "Every word rang. Every sentence sang. Every paragraph flowed with truth." But when the inevitable arguing begins among the delegates over deleting this word here, that sentence there, Jefferson is crushed, and so his good friend Benjamin Franklin tries to console him with a story. The story is about a hatmaker who drafts a sign for his shop and shows it to various family members and friends. Everyone has a suggestion to make about something to cut, and by the time the hatmaker has arrived at the signmaker's shop, his sign is blank. Candace Fleming first discovered this story by Franklin in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, in which Jefferson wrote, "Dr. Franklin perceived I was not insensitive to Congress' mutilation of my document, and tried to reassure me by whispering a parable." She frames her retelling of the amusing parable with a fictionalized recreation of the Jefferson-Franklin encounter in this delightful picture book illustrated with Robert Andrew Parker's full-color paintings in watercolor and ink. (Ages 8-11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1998

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