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Paperback The Great Brain Book

ISBN: 0440430712

ISBN13: 9780440430711

The Great Brain

(Book #1 in the The Great Brain Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

The Great Brain is Tom D. Fitzgerald, aged ten. The story is told by J.D., a sometimes confounded but always admiring younger brother. Such people as Mr. Standish, the mean schoolmaster, regret the day they came up against The Great Brain. But others, like the Jensen kids lost in Skeleton Cave, Basil, the Greek kid, or Andy, who has lost his leg and his friends, know that Tom's great brain never fails to find a way home.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Not to be missed

To my knowledge, John Dennis Fitzgerald never won any of the prestigious children's book awards or accolades for this book or any of the others in the series, but it is my opinion as an avid reader from childhood that these books constitute some of the best available children's literature. Fitzgerald was in his sixties when he started this series, but he clearly never lost touch with his childhood self and all of these books are brilliantly written so that J.d. and his big brother seem like kids you know, even though they lived in a small Utah town at the turn of the century. These books have it all: an interesting historical setting; believable characters that develop as the series progresses; plenty of humor, of both the laugh-out-loud and subtler varieties; tenderness and pathos; and even a few good scares. I picked up a copy of More adventures of the Great Brain, the second in the series, at a book fair in elementary school. (It isn't strictly necessary to read the books in order, though of course it's nice.) I was the most avid reader in my family, though the youngest, and for some reason one summer day when we were bored I started reading the book aloud to my older sister and my uncle, who was only five years older than me (I was nine or ten at the time.) Pretty soon, all three of us were devouring the rest of the series, swapping them among ourselves. I can't be sure, but I think the books may have started my sister's love of reading, though my uncle had always been a reader and had turned me on to the Lord of the Rings. At any rate, these were favorites for years. Parents, please, please don't be put off by the fact that these books are about a mischievous boy with a penchant for swindling his pals out of their prized possessions. I have not raised children myself, but from my own reading I think children's books that don't have an element of mischief and rebellion in them or quite dull, and as a kid I hated nothing worse than to read a book where I felt like I was being preached to. T.d. gets into plenty of trouble, but his conscience develops as the books progress and he learns that his great brain can be used to help others as well as to cheat them. Unlike some other kids' books where the grownups are simply the bad guys, the adults in these stories are firm but supportive, strict but loving. Despite their tendency to disobey, T.D. and his brothers love and admire their parents and their beloved Uncle Mark, the town's marshall and deputy sheriff who is portrayed as both heroic and down to earth. J.D. says at one point that he really likes his uncle because "he never talked down to Tom and me, but treated us just like grownups," and like his fictional uncle (who may have been based on a real person) Fitzgerald never makes the mistake of condescending to his readers. The tragic story of Abie Glassman in this first volume isn't the last time readers will encounter hard truths in these stories, but Fitzgerald writes about the ups and do

Tom Sawyer meets Encyclopedia Brown

I loved the Great Brain as a kid.Tom has a crafty brilliance about him, reminding me of the famous Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn fence-painting scene. Tom gets what he wants by thinking on his feet, adjusting his approach when necessary, and always winding up with a little more than he started with.Readers of mysteries will find the Great Brain intriguing in the same way they wonder whodunit. Here, we wonder, "Hmm... would that work on my best friend in fourth grade." Unless you're as smart as Tom, probably not. The genuis in the midst of a little boy is wonderful to watch in action!Despite the sneakiness, there is the gentle relationship between Tom and his brother. No worries here for parents looking to guide their children into wholseome reading supporting good values.The book is a classic. Buy it for your oldest, and watch your youngest child be drawn into it as soon as he or she is able.I fully recommend this book.Anthony Trendl

A Great Book for Hard-To-Shop-For Boys (and girls, too)

I read The Great Brain books in the 70's. Now that I have kids of my own, I've been introducing them to my old favorites. The wonderful thing about the Great Brain series is that it's timeless. It still as fresh as ever, just as full of fun and mischief. The series revolves around the exploits of a young would-be con artist who always seems to get caught. One of the best parts about this series is that it appeals to boys at the age when many of them stop reading for fun. I'm getting this book for one of my third-grade students (I'm a literacy tutor) as a end-of-the-year gift. I know that he will love it.

The Great Brain

I first read this book and the others in the series as a sixth-grader back in the mid-70s. I, too, read them over and over! I was so enthralled with the stories that I did what I always did with terrific books: looked for any other books by the same author. I was thrilled to discover that in addition to this fictionalized version of J.D.'s childhood, he had also written three non-fiction books detailing his family history and experience in late 19th century Utah: Uncle Will and the Fitzgerald Curse, Papa Married a Mormon, and Mama's Boarding House. I promptly checked them out of the library and devoured them all. They are wonderful stories and an informative background to the Great Brain series. I add my plea to that of another reviewer: SOMEONE, PLEASE REPRINT THESE BOOKS by John D. Fitzgerald! They are a treasure that should not remain relegated to the dusty shelves of used bookstores!I am currently reading The Great Brain to my six-year old son. At first I was afraid that the writing was a little too sophisticated for him, but with an explanation here and a definition there, he's doing just fine with it. He laughed uproariously at the scene in the opening chapter of the public uncrating and display of the first water closet (indoor flush toilet)in Adenville. These stories are terrific entertainment, as well as history lessons. They give kids a sense of how daily life was a century ago from a kid's perspective.

I remember this book from when I was a nine year old boy...

I never read any of the books in the Great Brain series; they were actually read to me when I was a child. It was a ritual that my mother and I had every night. Just after I got in bed she would sit or lie down next to me and pull out a book. Over the years she read many different series, and to be honest, at the age of 23 all of these stories are a bit of a blur, except one series, The Great Brain. The Great Brain was by far my favorite I remember the stories as though they were read to me yesterday. One bit, which I remember particularly, is a scene in one of the books involving a headmaster (I think) and one of the brothers. I remember something being said about adults finding it admirable when children looked them in the eye while being addressed. That little bit has stayed with me all my life. After my Mother read that part I immediately started holding my head high and looking every adult who spoke to me in the eye. I've done that ever since, and when I do it I remember The Great Brain. Anyhow, I thought I would share this the world, especially any parent looking for a book that their child might like. If you haven't done it yet, you should consider reading this series to your own kid.
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