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!Free Pdf ♃ The Great Brain ⚖ The Best Con Man In The Midwest Is Only Ten Years Old Tom, Aka The Great Brain, Is A Silver Tongued Genius With A Knack For Turning A Profit When The Jenkins Boys Get Lost In Skeleton Cave, The Great Brain Saves The Day Whether It S Saving The Kids At School, Or Helping Out Peg Leg Andy, Or Basil, The New Kid At School, The Great Brain Always Manages To Come Out On Top And Line His Pockets In The Process What The Five Year Old Thought I can t explain why I liked it except that JD is telling the story Tom is the one with the Great Brain and he rescued a few guys What Mommyo thought My husband is in the process of reading this to our 5YO Both are really enjoying it true confessions my husband read this as a child, so his enjoyment may be partly nostalgia When they got to the bit about making homemade ice cream, The 5YO said Daddyo, I want to jump into the book right that second You should definitely try this one at your house Update Potential Spoiler Alert Parental Warning Last night we got to the part where one of the characters dies It s a very tough chapter My husband who was reading it, skimmed over it, because The Five Year Old wasn t in a good place to deal with the sadness or the reasons for the death she was having a tough night already I mention it because you may want to read this book before sharing it with your children, so that you ll be prepared for the questions they ll have about some of the tough subjects it raises Also, the attitudes toward Native Americans are not, shall we say, in line with current thinking You ll want to be prepared to deal with questions stemming from that or to simply address it head on while your child is reading this book. A solid, wonderful children s book with the spirit of Tom Sawyer I highly enjoyed this one. adding this because goodreads recommended I read it after Caraval and how could Ieverrefuse a goodreads recommendation how I rated this 4 stars and my son rated it 5 stars so we re agreeing upon a 4.5 star rating The entire time I read this book, I couldn t help but compare the unstructured childhood described in this book with today s highly structured children The boys in this book experienced a freedom that is not found today sure they found themselves in hot water and made some lots of mistakes but I loved reading about how they worked things out or learned their lessons by EXPERIENCING them There would be very, very little tolerance in this day and age for many of the pranks described in this book and I can t help but wonder if this is a good thing My son adored this book I didn t think it was QUITE as funny as I had remembered from all those many years ago but perhaps this is because I m now reading it from the perspective of a parent and I find myself cringing just a little, even while chuckling Speaking of parents this is the second book I read by John D Fitzgerald and I just adore his parents and their parenting style. My modern day sensitivities got in the way again when, in the last chapter of this book I read out loud to my boys, I started reading about peg leg Andy who wanted to commit suicide because he was plumb useless Our dear narrator, little J.D was just the type of pal to help him out too I continued to read about the different ideas the boys came up with to do in Andy, and tried to figure out what I could make up to pretend the story was over and get out of reading the last 10 or so pages of the book I talked to my boys about what would happen if JD and Andy succeeded and the consequences that JD would have to live with, and how these boys were not thinking things through and decided to keep reading I am glad I did because the last few pages of this book were the best ones yet.Overall, my boys loved this book and it made a fun read aloud The story of a boy growing up with his two older brothers, one who had a knack for solving problems with his Great Brain Set in a time when boys had lots of chores, played games with nothingthan sticks, rocks and an old can, respected their elders, explored old caves, got measles and the mumps, could lose a leg from stepping on a rusty nail and settled disputes with a fist fight or wrestle. Note The following is a review of the entire Great Brain series The Great Brain is perhaps one of the finest American children s books ever written as are its companions in the Great Brain series Reading this series in recent years has in some ways been akin to rereading Tom Sawyer as an adult, since what appeared as high adventure to me as a fifth grader I now read through a Twainian lens of chuckles and nostalgia John D Fitzgerald was raised in Price, Utah, and based the Great Brain series on the childhood antics of his super smart, flimflamming older brother, Tom The books are written in the first person voice of J.D based on the young John D Fitzgerald The stories take place in the fictional town of Adenville which I surmise is actually somewhere in southwestern Utah, roughly in the vicinity of Iron or Washington Counties there are references to Cedar City and Shivwits Indians However, the imprint of Price and eastern Utah is found often in this book, as the town is fairly divided between Mormons and people of other faiths, sports characters such as Basil Kokovinis, the son of Greek hotel operators as well as a run of Scandinavian Mormon kids such as Parley Jensen who wears a coon skin cap Adenville is a safe, tight knit small town as well as a crossroads of rural industry leaving the reader with a sense that cattlemen, hustlers and wild west entrepreneurs are often staying in town but are usually out of the sight of the youngsters The central theme of the Great Brain series is the insecurities of childhood and the occasional blurring of the boundary between a warm and safe domestic world and the dangers of a mysterious adult world.As a kid, I read these books perceiving Tom as the protagonist and hero As an adult, one realizes that while Tom is indeed J.D s begrudged hero, J.D is the true protagonist and it is through his eyes that the stories are told Like Twain, Fitzgerald s greatest talent is bringing to life the fears and joys of childhood and reminding adults of what it was like to be a young Unlike Tom Sawyer, these books are written on a fourth or fifth grade reading level and the characters harbor childlike feelings of warmth and trust toward parents and adult figures that are not as prevalent in characters like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn J.D s love for his parents is felt throughout the books and is not diminished by youthful, matter of fact assessments of them J.D s father can be clueless at times when juxtaposed against his practical wife who often showscommon sense and frequently purchases quack mail order contraptions But J.D s father is also presented as a paradigm of the responsible neighbor and townsman who avoids misjudging others.J.D s mother is a firm, loving woman who spends her time laboring in the kitchen alongside an aunt whose hands are as big as a man s Whenever a trip is taken, the father and boys invariably pull out lunches fixed by the mother, including chocolate cake, home fried chicken, boiled eggs, sandwiches, pie and the list goes on If reading such passages does not make readers hungry, it may remind them of their own mothers as Fitzgerald shows us that cooking was one way his mother conveyed her love to her children.Adenville is an idyllic world of rural chores, hanging out at Smith s vacant lot and playing checkers by the fireside And yet there is also tragedy, like the rockslide death that orphans little Frankie , a boy later adopted by the Fitzgeralds Other glimpses of pathos can be found in the books various descriptions of a frontier pride that avoids asking for desperately needed help or the child whose best efforts are frequently misunderstood by adults.Like many children s books and movies, a running theme is that of Tom s outwitting adults and making them look like fools And yet, Tom often ends up as the one in trouble and the town s kids usually end up paying a price as well Throughout the books, J.D constantly berates himself for being a fool who falls for Tom s schemes and seems to have an I should have known inferiority complex Religion is also a theme in these books though I was surprised at how much I missed it when I was younger Perhaps that says something about a young reader and how he or she might interact with the young characters in the book Even now when I read these books, it is apparent that the undercurrent of religious differences in Adenville is muted in the eyes of the youthful characters The Fitzgeralds are a Catholic family although the mother was raised as a Mormon and worship at a community church except during infrequent visits from a priest J.D often speaks of Mormon honesty and tee totaling as givens in a town where Bishop Aden after whom the town was named is still a highly revered, living figure Nonetheless, tug a rope teams at civic celebrations are divided between Mormon and Gentile kids and the two groups have occasional dust ups.These books capture an age caught between the frontier and modernity, where the Mormon settlement has emerged as a functioning civic unit although one still senses the watchful paternalism of Bishop Aden and where budding technology and economic differentiation mix with chores such as watering the chickens J.D.s father, one of the few educated men in town, is the local newspaper editor, and yet, like all of the other families, they have a small farm, including cows, chickens and a few horses There are many striking scenes in this series, including the portrayal of Abie Glassman , an itinerant Jewish merchant who is getting old and decides to settle in Adenville and open a store Rumors circulate that Glassman is wealthy and has a chest full of gold While J.D s mom occasionally sends him out to shop with Glassman, J.D usually heads to the local Mormon co op instead where he will get candy from the manager Due to the town s prejudicial assumption that Glassman is a wealthy hoarder and Glassman s proud refusal to seek help, he literally starves to death Though at times these stories encounter serious themes and real life fears, the books enduring themes are warmth, safety, and humor Fitzgerald, who died in 1988, is the type of author I would have loved to have met in person, or to have heard him speak about his life and literary experiences As a young person, I read his novel Papa Married a Mormon, but it did not enchant me as did the Great Brain series Admittedly, that was probably because it was written for an adult audience and I was likely too young to properly appreciate it Perhaps sometime I ought to reread it Ultimately, I am grateful to Fitzgerald, who brought to life a small, turn of the century Mormon town and made its otherwise anonymous, youngest citizens larger than life When it comes to children s literature, subgenres will come and go But I believe that as long as kids can find these books, they will be read and loved. Want to learn how to charge people to see a toilet flush Need to learn to swim, or walk with a peg leg Find your way out of a dangerous cave Get rid of a strict teacher Ask the Great Brain, Thomas T.D Fitzgerald Set in the early days of Utah statehood 1896 in southern Utah, John J.D Fitzgerald recounts the amazing and mind blowing stunts and escapades of he and his brothers, among the minority of Catholics in a predominantly Mormon community When the Great Brain puts his mind to work, anything can happen Ingenious and hilarious, a very good read Okay, what Miniscule Brain at Dell Yearling authorized the AWFUL, anachronistic covers for the 1970s reprints of these books I m sorry, but it s Mercer Mayer s original drawings or NOTHING, in my opinion If you are unlucky enough to own the 1970s Dell Yearling reprints with their Little Rascals esque cover art, you have my profound pity The good news is that Mayer s classic, gorgeous, marvelous drawings are still included inside the books Fitzgerald alone is great, but Fitzgerald with Mayer It s like cherries with cheesecake, hot dogs with cheese, ice cream with Oreo cookies I mean, what s the point of eating them alone, when together they give you so much pleasure You ll never be able to read Fitzgerald without Mayer, after you ve read them together.Anyway, big gripe I ve had for YEARS.I started reading these in fourth grade after my teacher read The Great Brain to us in class They are an absolute HOOT Very good reading that adults and children will enjoy equally, and which gives an insight into some of the diversity that actually does exist in Utah, which is forgotten completely in most other Mormon and even non Mormon fiction books based in Utah J D s small town contains people from all walks of life, including Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Protestants, and others Ethnicity is also portrayed as diverse J D s own family is Danish Irish, and one of his brothers has the unlikely name of Sweyn Danish Fitzgerald Irish Basil Vasillios , a Greek boy, becomes a major character in later books Disablity is also discussed In one of the books, Tom and J D play with a little boy who has lost his leg Britches Dotty, one of the few female characters, ultimately is persuaded to wear dresses rather than britches, but she s such a great character, the feminist in me doesn t care.So, so good Many excellent lessons taught in a hysterical way Why are you sitting here, reading this, when you could be reading these books Rated PG for peril fistfights, name calling, and such happen regularly In Me and My Little Brain , an outlaw captures Frankie and points a gun at his head Also, keep in mind that Tom is a pint sized con man, so there is a certain amount of lying, deception, and rule breaking that happen in the books Also, the adults in the book sometimes drink alcohol, but not to excess I would say kids would need to be in second or third grade and up in order to understand and enjoy these books I got this book for my nephew, who s seven, after my sister told me he was reading chapter books now Actually, it turns out he s not quite that advanced, but I figured he and his dad might enjoy reading these very funny books together anyway When it arrived, I decided to reread a chapter or two to be sure it was as good as I remembered.It was oh, it was But it was also very, very different, muchcomplex in its portrayal of ethics than I realized when I ordered it and, I think, perhaps a bit too complex not for a kid, but for the grownups who might read it to him The chapters have some rather questionable scenes that I think play out quite subtly, and in ways that I m not sure our twenty first century world can tolerate.And this made me think a bit about reading as a child Much as I had quite a bit of independence as a kid I m 40 now , to roam through the fields, walk unaccompanied as a kindergartner though several neighborhoods to the babysitter s after school, or watch whatever I felt like once I graduated to latchkey status in the third grade, I had absolute freedom to read whatever I wanted as a kid My parents loved the idea of books but weren t really readers themselves, and they certainly never delved very deeply into whatever book my nose was buried in at the time So I read widely, and I probably read a number of things of which, had they known what was actually between the covers, they would not have approved For that neglect, I shall be eternally grateful Morality, compassion, and ethics are not slogans to be captured under headers like gender or immigration tolerance isn t something practiced by silent, knowing looks these are things best encountered in three dimensions, with fully fleshed out conflicts that have no easily identified right or wrong Fitzgerald s characters do this quite well, with J.D playing the role of the audience, vocalizing reservations and conventional, quick to judge platitudes while Tom, always eager to profit, literally, from whatever situation arises, finds a way to complicate J.D s judgements, and, thereby, ours Moreover, Fitzgerald does so with a deft, light hand and real, gut busting laughs The incidents are funny and touching because they re so thoroughly realized in terms of their characters failings as well as their abilities to rise to the challenges life presents them, even, sometimes, in spite of themselves I think I will hang onto this one until I m quite sure my nephew can read it for himself and, thus, judge it for himself.