Wednesday, November 21, 2012

+! The Great Brain


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5The Great Brain
Von Susan Reed
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.

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5A Wonderful Series
Von Rebecca S Barley
I was asked by my mother recently if I remembered this book series. Of course I did and still have every (taped together) old Great Brain paper back that I read in the mid-seventies. I am thrilled that this series is still in print and look forward to my two children enjoying them. My copies are so tattered, though, that I'll need to get them their own....

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5Childhood Revisited
Von William R. Barker
My buddy's little guy is four months old and his Christening is in a couple of weeks.

Hmm...? Money? A sterling silver keepsake? Ah, ha! BOOKS! A series of books to be precise!

So... the kid's gonna have to wait a few years to enjoy his Christening gift, but by the time he reaches 6th grade or so he'll hopefully be able to appreciate "The Great Brain" and all the follow-ups in this wonderful series of childhood adventures that his Uncle Bill purchased for him at before he could even talk - let alone read!

I read these books when I was in 6th grade and I still remember the joy I experienced from each page of each chapter of each story.

John D. Fitzgerald may not be a household name like Mark Twain. Nor is the "Great Brain" as famous as Tom and Huck. Yet... as with reading Twain (Clemens), reading Fitzgerald's adventures will inspire and indeed improve young minds, acting as both entertainment and subtle instruction.

Folks, Fitzgerald's youth fiction is both timeless and timely. Timeless in terms of never losing its meaning and sense of adventure; timely in terms of kids today needing all the help we can give them towards expanding their imaginations in positive directions.

Anyway... I can't recommend this book and indeed the entire series highly enough. I only wish the entire series was available in hardcover.

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+! The Great Brain Reviewed by Lek on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 Rating: 4.5


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