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The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald

The Great Brain (original 1967; edition 2000)

by John D. Fitzgerald, Mercer Mayer (Illustrator)

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1,490224,982 (4.04)1 / 44
Title:The Great Brain
Authors:John D. Fitzgerald
Other authors:Mercer Mayer (Illustrator)
Info:Dial (2000), Hardcover, 192 pages
Collections:CLASSROOM LIBRARY, BOY'S, Your library

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The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald (1967)



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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Childhood favorite. I still remember how funny these books were. ( )
  lovelypenny | Feb 4, 2016 |
Tom is a sly, smart but kind kid. His great brain is the biggest one in town, at least according to him. Tom's family lives in a big lives in a town with lots of kids. Tom and his little brother, who is the narrator of the story, face a lot of challenges and problems, like a mean teacher and two kids trapped inside a maze. Can Tom's great brain solve them all? You'll have to read the book to find out.

I enjoyed this book because it's very funny and serious at the same time. I think readers who love funny books but also adventure will love this book. ( )
  KatiePU | Jan 25, 2015 |
The Great Brain, also known as Tom, is a 10 year old boy living with his family in rural Utah in the 1890's. His younger brother, J.D. (an analogue for the author) is the first-person narrator. Tom uses his Great Brain mainly to swindle other kinds in town and con his brother into doing things for him. At one point, when helping a friend overcome a devastating injury, he almost seems to have a heart, but then returns to his old ways pretty quickly.

This book actually contains one of the saddest things I've ever read, and which I was surprised at its inclusion in this children's book, was the story of how an old tinker was encouraged by Tom & J.D.'s dad to retire and set up a shop in their town, but nobody really shopped there, and he died of starvation. In this day and age in which the choice between shopping at the Wal-Mart or the local Mom & Pop shop is probably not a life or death decision, it still helps to be reminded that we should look out for each other.

I'd say this book falls into the category of "things I enjoyed reading as a child that still hold up upon reading as an adult". It didn't come off as cheesy or too juvenile and I enjoyed the setting.

It's interesting to note that the author could easily be very critical of Mormons in his text, since his was one of the only Catholic families in a very Mormon town and even now there are a lot of people who denigrate Mormons, but he does not do this at all, which is good.

Recommended for young and old, although very young children might need some comfort after the chapter about the tinker. Some good life lessons are contained herein, which should spark some discussion about right and wrong, honor, and deceit/manipulation. ( )
  EmScape | Sep 11, 2014 |
The first time I was introduced to the Great Brain was as a fourth grade student. As a youngster, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, thinking it was the funniest book in the world. Re-reading it as an adult, I'm not sure the book is the best choice for nurturing the redeeming qualities of honesty and hard work which we strive to instill in our students. Being that the main character Tom is a con-artist, there are a number of times in which Tom lies and manipulates situations to his own advantage. When his dad decides to have a water closet installed in the house, Tom, a.k.a., the Great Brain, sees the value of the novelty of having the first inside toilet, and he therefore charges a penny to each person who wants to flush it. No matter what, Tom always comes out on top, and seems to earn money in the process. There is a certain amount of cultural diversity in the book in that Tom plays with a child with one leg and also with children with various religious beliefs. Fitzgerald also introduces characters with other ethnic backgrounds such as Danish, Irish, and Greek ethnicities.
This is a great book which delves into small town life and how it differs from life in the big city. Children will enjoy the quick-witted humor that the author employs in the ways in which Tom tricks various people into do his bidding. Boys, especially will laugh their way through this entire book, and enjoy Tom’s knee-slapping shenanigans immensely! ( )
  Stsmurphy | Jun 7, 2014 |
Great fun! Made me go look for his adult books too. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
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For Michele Ann and John Michael
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Most everyone in Utah remembers 1896 as the year the territory became a state.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440430712, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:33 -0400)

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The exploits of the Great Brain of Adenville, Utah are described by his younger brother, frequently the victim of the Great Brain's schemes for gaining prestige or money.

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (4.04)
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