School Library JournalGr 4-8Fitzgerald wrote the first of his autobiographical yarns set in Mormon Utah in the 1890s in 1967. In 1975, what was thought to be the last of the series, The Great Brain Does It Again, was published. Readers of all ages will take delight in getting acquainted or reacquainted with these engaging characters in this eighth and last offering. Loose chapters found after the author's death have been nicely arranged by the editors into a novel in keeping with the style and tone of others in the series. In all this time, the narrator's older brother, Tom, has only reached the age of 13, and has fallen under the spell of pretty Polly Reagana situation that does not affect his great brain or his money-loving schemes and propensity to swindle his brothers and friends. From a slippery soap deal to outwitting a band of outlaws, Tom's antics are humorously told by J.D., whose view of his sibling is a wonderful mixture of admiration and exasperation. His narration provides an excellent example of the difficult-to-reach concept of voice in writing. A satisfying conclusion that's certain to be a hit with fans, as well as a great way to introduce a new generation of youngsters to an entertaining series.Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Carolyn PhelanPublished from a manuscript found after Fitzgerald's death, the eighth book in the Great Brain series will not disappoint his many fans. The year is 1899, and J. D. narrates this episodic novel, which follows the format of the previous books. Once again, it is J. D. on the defense as he describes his big brother Tom's conniving ways from the first chapter, in which Tom sells J. D. a wagonload of soap, through the last, in which J. D. claims that Tom is finally outswindled--by his own mother. DeGroat's full-page pencil drawings, one per chapter, capture the era well and portray the characters sympathetically, but the book's gentle humor finds expression mainly through the writing. A satisfying addition to a series that continues to attract young readers.
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