Review of: Benji Franklin – Kid Zillionaire

This book by Raymond Bean will be a great addition to my Grandma Rie’s Money Camp curriculum. It was written in 2014 by a best selling author (Raymond Bean) who also happens to teach the 4th grade and illustrated by Matthew Vimislik. It is perfect for the elementary school age group I am now targeting for camp.


Benji (named after Benjamin Franklin) thinks he is a child genius and backs it up with extraordinary achievements. He is 12 and as part of a school assignment in tech class (yes, every American school should have one of these) he has to write an app.

While trying to get out of music lessons at home, his Dad inadvertently triggers an app idea for Benji by asking him ‘What if you stopped trying to excuse yourself’?

Benji designs and codes the app, puts it up for sale on the app store and presents it in class. By the next day, it has already sold enough to generate over $300,000 in his bank account.

He gets famous and scientists ask him to help with a problem for which they might need an excuse …. escaped cloned dinosaurs. Benji solves the problem, helping them capture the dinosuars while keeping their existence a secret. For payment, he requests that he keep the chickens, cows and airport which helped in the capture. He then presents all three to his Mom to help her keep the food pantry she runs supplied with meat, milk and eggs.

He and his Dad track asteroids using a satellite his Dad invented, finding that one (not large enough to be tracked by the big guns) will hit the earth. He comes up with a solution to this and they get help from a Sir Richard Branson type character to implement it, getting a free ride in space as a result.

What I liked.

This book targets the age I’m trying to reach. The author and illustrator seem to understand kids that age. The world is presented in such a way that all seems possible, just as it typically does to kids that age. They aren’t yet aware of all of the things that adults think of just before they give up trying to do something! Therefore, the kids just go ahead and get it done.

The book shows that having a lot of money doesn’t make you change. It puts focus on accomplishment, intelligence, inventiveness and selflessness.

I liked that the author led the reader through the idea discovery process, explaining how Benji came up with his ideas.

All kinds of lessons will be possible by using this book – such as learning about passive income, electronic money movement, selling/marketing approaches, ordinary people who do extraordinary things, differentiating your product from the competition,and how one success can lead to others.

What I wished for.

I really don’t have any wishes for the author or illustrator for this book – it even is priced reasonably. It would be nice to have one or more sets of lesson plans based on the story. I’m currently making my own for money camp. Let me know if you want to see them when I finish!

Favorite quotes.

Chapter 2, page 13:

“Like other apps, Excuse Yourself gives you dozens of possible excuses, I explained. But, unlike the competition, my computer app helps you determine the likelihood the excuse will work! Someone give me an example of something you needed an excuse for today.”

Chapter 7, page 52:

“Sometimes when I’m solving a problem, my mind takes over and I can’t hear anything else around me. It happens when I solve puzzles and complex problems. My mind visualizes the solution one piece at a time. I see a bunch of different images in my head. The images swirl around in my mind, independent of one another. If I concentrate hard enough, I can always find a way they connect together to make a solution.”

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