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Me and My Little Brain

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Tom, a.k.a. the Great Brain, is off to boarding school. Now his little brother, J. D., is free to follow in Tom's ingenious, conniving, and profitable footsteps. All of J. D.'s attempts at turning a profit fail miserably, and he soon realizes that he just doesn't have that crafty Great Brain knack. But when his younger brother is kidnapped, J. D. finds that his little brai Tom, a.k.a. the Great Brain, is off to boarding school. Now his little brother, J. D., is free to follow in Tom's ingenious, conniving, and profitable footsteps. All of J. D.'s attempts at turning a profit fail miserably, and he soon realizes that he just doesn't have that crafty Great Brain knack. But when his younger brother is kidnapped, J. D. finds that his little brain may not be so ordinary after all....


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Tom, a.k.a. the Great Brain, is off to boarding school. Now his little brother, J. D., is free to follow in Tom's ingenious, conniving, and profitable footsteps. All of J. D.'s attempts at turning a profit fail miserably, and he soon realizes that he just doesn't have that crafty Great Brain knack. But when his younger brother is kidnapped, J. D. finds that his little brai Tom, a.k.a. the Great Brain, is off to boarding school. Now his little brother, J. D., is free to follow in Tom's ingenious, conniving, and profitable footsteps. All of J. D.'s attempts at turning a profit fail miserably, and he soon realizes that he just doesn't have that crafty Great Brain knack. But when his younger brother is kidnapped, J. D. finds that his little brain may not be so ordinary after all....

30 review for Me and My Little Brain

  1. 4 out of 5

    Marika Gillis

    Me and My Little Brain is another fun selection I recently read for the Battle of the Books competition! This is the third book in the popular Great Brain series and, never having read any of the Great Brain books, I didn't know quite what to expect when I picked this one up. A clever little chapter book, Me and My Little Brain tells the story of J.D. who, now that his big brother Tom (otherwise known as the Great Brain) is away attending boarding school, has high hopes for becoming the newest n Me and My Little Brain is another fun selection I recently read for the Battle of the Books competition! This is the third book in the popular Great Brain series and, never having read any of the Great Brain books, I didn't know quite what to expect when I picked this one up. A clever little chapter book, Me and My Little Brain tells the story of J.D. who, now that his big brother Tom (otherwise known as the Great Brain) is away attending boarding school, has high hopes for becoming the newest neighborhood "wheeler-dealer". J.D.'s bound and determined to find a way to convince other neighborhood kids to do his chores for him, and he's hell-bent on bamboozling extra money by renting out his brother's bike. But, in his attempt to live up to his big brother's legacy as a swindler, J.D. begins to realize the importance of being his own person and finding what it is that he is good at. This book was a wonderful, light read. It's such a cute story filled with amusing scenarios, and the sibling rivalry theme is one that transcends the ages. Despite the fact that this book takes place in the late 1800s, it would be easily relate-able for all kids trying to live up to an older sibling's notoriety! I think the message emphasizing the importance of being your own person is a terrific one for elementary kids to hear. Definitely a great book to share with your kids!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Bunn

    Just finished reading #2 in The Great Brain series. Wonderful book! This one takes off right after John Fitzgerald's two brothers leave for boarding school in late 19th century Salt Lake City. John becomes the only child at home and immediately tries to take over the town Great Brain mantle of his brother Tom. He has rather disastrous results, of course. Again, Fitzgerald really cannot do any wrong with his writing in this series. Even as a 43-year-old, I'm impressed by the stark perfection of hi Just finished reading #2 in The Great Brain series. Wonderful book! This one takes off right after John Fitzgerald's two brothers leave for boarding school in late 19th century Salt Lake City. John becomes the only child at home and immediately tries to take over the town Great Brain mantle of his brother Tom. He has rather disastrous results, of course. Again, Fitzgerald really cannot do any wrong with his writing in this series. Even as a 43-year-old, I'm impressed by the stark perfection of his writing. Deftly gentle humor, superb portrayal of family and childhood, pathos and adventure, all elegantly baked into one delicious story. By the way, I forgot to mention that Mercer Mayer did all the illustrations for this version of the series (I'm not certain, but I think this was the first version published). The look and characters he created dovetail perfectly with Fitzgerald's voice.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Probably my least favorite of the Great Brain series but still far and away a 5 star book. It's probably my least favorite because there are 3 main plot points that spread multiple chapters (John taking over after Tom goes to school, Frankie Pennyworth, Cal Roberts) and I really like the usual format of the series with a contained story starting and finishing each chapter. Still, I do love this book and have read it dozens of times and will continue to re-read it. If you haven't read this series ju Probably my least favorite of the Great Brain series but still far and away a 5 star book. It's probably my least favorite because there are 3 main plot points that spread multiple chapters (John taking over after Tom goes to school, Frankie Pennyworth, Cal Roberts) and I really like the usual format of the series with a contained story starting and finishing each chapter. Still, I do love this book and have read it dozens of times and will continue to re-read it. If you haven't read this series just know that I give it my highest possible recommendation. It's a kids book but is equally enjoyable for 8 year olds and 80 year olds.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    I bought used copies of these books when my kids were growing up, and I think the kids read them until they disintegrated. So I never got my turn. Thankfully I’m making up for it now. This is the third book in the series, and the most exciting so far. A killer and his gang come to town after breaking out of prison, looking for revenge against JD’s father, who was on the jury that convicted them. The leader of the gang, a truly vicious man, kidnaps JD’s brother and threatens to kill him if his de I bought used copies of these books when my kids were growing up, and I think the kids read them until they disintegrated. So I never got my turn. Thankfully I’m making up for it now. This is the third book in the series, and the most exciting so far. A killer and his gang come to town after breaking out of prison, looking for revenge against JD’s father, who was on the jury that convicted them. The leader of the gang, a truly vicious man, kidnaps JD’s brother and threatens to kill him if his demands are not met. JD’s uncle Mark has a desperate plan, but JD thinks his brother will be killed anyway. So he comes up with something better. I was so caught up in the book that I couldn’t put it down until the last page.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    A little darker than the first two but still so good. Full review here: http://www.sunlitpages.com/2017/05/th... A little darker than the first two but still so good. Full review here: http://www.sunlitpages.com/2017/05/th...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heather Culley

    Goodness children's books used to be grim. Goodness children's books used to be grim.

  7. 4 out of 5

    MovieCritic

    This was so cute!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jack Cheng

    This gets merely a "like" because a) the Great Brain himself does not appear and so it's not a great jumping on point for new readers and b) the last 3-4 chapters are all one extended story -- nothing wrong with that but tough for little brains to keep track of. That said, it's the first one in my re-reading that made me have to stop because I was crying (page 135). As part of a trilogy, that point hits a home run. In this third entry of the series, Tom is away at boarding school and John D. unex This gets merely a "like" because a) the Great Brain himself does not appear and so it's not a great jumping on point for new readers and b) the last 3-4 chapters are all one extended story -- nothing wrong with that but tough for little brains to keep track of. That said, it's the first one in my re-reading that made me have to stop because I was crying (page 135). As part of a trilogy, that point hits a home run. In this third entry of the series, Tom is away at boarding school and John D. unexpectedly becomes an older brother when his family adopts an orphaned kid named Frankie Pennyworth.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Keri

    My 9 year old son thoroughly enjoys these books. I read them aloud nightly and he has picked them up and read ahead on more than one occasion because he just can't wait to see how the story unfolds. Tonight my boy was full of commentary as usual and said this author is "just one of the best!" Can't remember how he phrased it but it was along the lines of the author being able to show a kid acting and thinking in the stupidest way and still show that kid in a way you can respect and admire. I've My 9 year old son thoroughly enjoys these books. I read them aloud nightly and he has picked them up and read ahead on more than one occasion because he just can't wait to see how the story unfolds. Tonight my boy was full of commentary as usual and said this author is "just one of the best!" Can't remember how he phrased it but it was along the lines of the author being able to show a kid acting and thinking in the stupidest way and still show that kid in a way you can respect and admire. I've really enjoyed all of the characters in these books.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shiloah

    You could hear a pin drop when we read this book aloud. We love the Great Brain series!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Todd Miles

    My ten, eight, and seven-year olds loved this.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This is a reread; I loved “The Great Brain” series as a kid, and I picked this one up at a used book sale. I remembered very little about this particular entry in the series, so it was almost like reading it for the first time. Some parts have not, shall we say, aged well (namely: anything involving “Indians”), but generally it holds up. I’d COMPLETELY forgotten that this one involved high-stakes life-and-death danger, so it was way more exciting than I was expecting! I never wanted to put it as This is a reread; I loved “The Great Brain” series as a kid, and I picked this one up at a used book sale. I remembered very little about this particular entry in the series, so it was almost like reading it for the first time. Some parts have not, shall we say, aged well (namely: anything involving “Indians”), but generally it holds up. I’d COMPLETELY forgotten that this one involved high-stakes life-and-death danger, so it was way more exciting than I was expecting! I never wanted to put it aside, so it earns its five stars. I’m hoping I can collect the rest of the series in future used book sales. (I like a challenge.)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This may be my favourite of the Great Brain series. JD really comes into his own while Tom is away at school. Turns out he’s not a good swindler, but he’s no slouch when dealing with the horrible Cal Roberts. Fitzgerald’s introduction of Frankie’s character masterfully finds humour in tragedy and overall the book continues to show powerful values without being preachy. Basically, my kids and I laughed out way through another Great Brain. I only wish there were more.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anais

    I didn’t love this book as much as the first in the series. Family life in the Wild West ruggedness and the sweet community spirit of the early 20th century is still as charming and engaging as ever, but the anecdotes don’t flow as well. The slow start does pick up action and adventure towards the end as a violent outlaw takes a child hostage, and 9 year old J.D.’s “little brain” will be put to the test.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Never read this one before. I thought it might be a drag because the Great Brain isn't present except in spirit (he's off at the Catholic Academy in Salt Lake City) but it was actually great. I got to see the origins of Frankie at last. Loved the story at the end with the outlaw. (view spoiler)[(Though if one of your sons is being held hostage for days and there's a Great Brain a cable away, wouldn't you send for him to ask for advice? Also, where did the outlaw and Frankie poop??) (hide spoiler Never read this one before. I thought it might be a drag because the Great Brain isn't present except in spirit (he's off at the Catholic Academy in Salt Lake City) but it was actually great. I got to see the origins of Frankie at last. Loved the story at the end with the outlaw. (view spoiler)[(Though if one of your sons is being held hostage for days and there's a Great Brain a cable away, wouldn't you send for him to ask for advice? Also, where did the outlaw and Frankie poop??) (hide spoiler)]

  16. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Our favorite in the series so far! JD aspires to have a brain as big as his older brother Tom. With Tom now away at school, JD comes up with a few schemes to try to out-scheme the brilliantly clever Tom, only to find that his ideas don’t always pan out so well. Things really change when four year old Frankie arrives at the Fitzgerald home. Frankie was definitely my favorite character in this book. This installment was full of suspense and adventure! Can’t wait for the next one!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    2 1/2, quite the adventure story. The reason I'm rating it low is because this book was in the JR chapter books and so I read it out loud to my girls but it sure talked a lot about outlaws and a 4 year old hostage and killing and said things like "slash your throat". Those are things made of nightmares for my already nervous 8 year old. 2 1/2, quite the adventure story. The reason I'm rating it low is because this book was in the JR chapter books and so I read it out loud to my girls but it sure talked a lot about outlaws and a 4 year old hostage and killing and said things like "slash your throat". Those are things made of nightmares for my already nervous 8 year old.

  18. 5 out of 5

    William Kolk

    This book is a great third book in the Fitzgerald series. This is probably one of my top favorite books, mainly because of the adventures John has without the Great Brain. It also introduces a great character named Frankie. This book is a must-read for the Fitzgerald series.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Katies_Faves

    My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Embley, read this to our class in 5th grade. I fell in love with the characters and ended up reading (and rereading a gazillion times) the entire series. I love love love this book. It’s my favorite out of the bunch. I still think about it years later. Love it!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    A childhood favorite series. Rereading this to my son. I feel the lack of The Great Brain in this one, and found it mildly less enjoyable to read, less lighthearted. We are looking forward to the next book in the series.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This was another fun installment in the Great Brain series that I read aloud with my 11 year old. I loved the message of this book - that all of us can make a difference no matter what our talents. It was fun watching J.D. come into his own outside of the shadow of his genius older brother.

  22. 4 out of 5

    R.K. Cowles

    3 3/4 stars

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laine Lund

    This is a great book. If you haven't read it yet you definitely should. It is also a really short read. This is a great book. If you haven't read it yet you definitely should. It is also a really short read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    An amazing book about a brother who tries to follow in his siblings swindling footsteps but just can't get it to work. An amazing book about a brother who tries to follow in his siblings swindling footsteps but just can't get it to work.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Such a fun book to read with kids

  26. 5 out of 5

    Holli

    Had so much fun reading this book with Holland and Anna! They love these sweet and funny stories!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    My 7 year old loves this series!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lily Freebairn

    SO FUNNY

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark Bult

    A beloved series from my childhood. I’m happy to see it still holds up very well.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dan Blackley

    This is about the brother of the Great Brain and how he can figure out a thing or two.

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