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Children's Fiction Imagination & Play

Ben the Inventor

by (author) Robin Stevenson

illustrated by David Parkins

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Nov 2011
Imagination & Play, General, Death & Dying
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2011
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 8
  • Grade: 1 to 3
  • Reading age: 6 to 8


Inventors invent inventions! That's what Ben and his best friend Jack like to say. So when Ben discovers that Jack's family is planning to move to another city, he decides they should put their inventions to work. The boys figure that if no one buys Jack's house, Jack won't have to move away, so all they need is a plan to scare off potential buyers! Inventors are good at coming up with plans. But when Plans A, B and C fail to bring the results the boys had hoped for, Ben discovers that not everything in life stays the same—and that while change can be hard, sometimes it isn't all bad.

About the authors

Robin Stevenson is the award-winning author of more than 25 books for kids and teens, including the board book Pride Colors, the picture book Ghost’s Journey: A Refugee Story and the nonfiction books Kid Activists and Pride: The Celebration and the Struggle. The first edition of her nonfiction book Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community (2016) won a Stonewall Honor and was shortlisted for numerous other awards. Robin lives in Victoria, British Columbia, where she attends Pride celebrations with her family every year, but always leaves her dog safely at home.


Robin Stevenson's profile page

Phyllis Root is the author of BIG MOMMA MAKES THE WORLD and many other award-winning books for children. She says, " Aunt Nancy is my grandmothers and aunts — women who never let the world get the better of them — all rolled into one." She lives in Minneapolis.
David Parkins has illustrated numerous books for children, including WEBSTER J. DUCK by Martin Waddell and Egyptian Diary by Richard Platt. He lives in Lincoln, England. C

David Parkins' profile page


  • Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"

Excerpt: Ben the Inventor (by (author) Robin Stevenson; illustrated by David Parkins)

It is amazing, Ben thought, how much good stuff people throw out. He knew something most grown-ups didn't know: Junk plus Imagination equaled Great Inventions. The Great Invention he and Jack were working on at the moment was a catapult. Ben dragged an old shovel and a flat piece of wood out of the shed.

"Yeah!" Jack said. He grabbed a piece of wire. "Let's use this."

Editorial Reviews

"[The characters'] plans share a common feature, a quality of dreaming and scheming that seems perfectly age appropriate: Not too well thought out, but very imaginative...Ben and Jack exchange a lot of believable dialogue...Attractive, cheerful black-and-white full-page illustrations appear every few pages...Everything about this [book] is charmingly upbeat...Its winsome attitude makes it fun."

Kirkus Reviews

"A delightful story about best friends and shared visions...Stevenson's message provides comfort while demonstrating problem solving techniques to keep friendship alive even at a distance."

Resource Links

"Humorous yet poignant, this story highlights the friendship and creativity of two endearing characters...Faithful to the hopes and fears of young children and enhanced with fine pencil drawings, Stevenson's second chapter book about Ben rings true for anyone who has had a friend move away."

Booklist Online

"This book gives early readers an extended reading experience; short chapters provide quick success in reading and make the book easy to read in installments...Children who face a move will find comfort in this enjoyable story of friendship. Young inventors might get some ideas too."

Library Media Connection

Other titles by Robin Stevenson

Other titles by David Parkins