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THE GREAT BRAIN by John D. Fitzgerald Kirkus Star


by John D. Fitzgerald ; illustrated by Mercer Mayer

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1967
ISBN: 978-0-8037-2590-4
Publisher: Dial Books

According to J.D., Tom the Great Brain's younger brother, Adenville, Utah in 1896, is full of opportunities for an enterprising boy—Papa installs the first water closet in town (and Tom charges to see the cess pool dug, the chain pulled); J.D. catches the mumps first on purpose, has a chance to gloat over his still-swollen brothers (but Tom exacts a price for calling off his punishment); a Greek immigrant boy is badgered and bullied (and Tom earns a dollar for training him to outfight his chief tormentor); the new teacher turns out to be a tyrant (but Tom first has him fired, then rehired chastened). The Great Brain reigns but he's not the whole story—there's Abie Glassman who dies of malnutrition, of Jewish pride and Christian neglect. Neither is Tom all tricks: in a gem of a story that could stand alone he undertakes the reeducation of Peg Leg Andy who's about to tighten the noose around his neck because he thinks he's no use to his father or himself—and then refuses the promised reward. Like another Tom, the Great Brain steps out of a particular place and time and keeps coming... A funny, fast-moving, endearing book that adults will appreciate and boys will lap up.