This third book in the series is a great combination of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Terrible Two series, and is perfect for fans of Roald Dahl.
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 . . .
John D. Fitzgerald
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Our third installment follows shortly after the events of the previous book. In it, The Great Brain (Tom) finally goes away to the Academy to start 7th grade. His younger brother John (the narrator of the series) decides to take what he's learned as Tom's victim and try to step into his shoes as Tom's replacement as the Con Artiste of Adenville. Unfortunately for John, it turns out that he doesn't have that devious mind that Tom has, so John's schemes tend to run somewhat awry.
From the perspective of the overall arc, I like this book quite a bit...it does actually develop Tom's character even though he's largely absent. It shows that, to use a modern cliché, that Tom is a master of three dimensional chess while his victims are often playing checkers (if that makes sense). John in particular quickly finds out that running these schemes requires a certain worldview that John simply doesn't have. This insight, solidified in the fourth book in the series, I think...
Excellent series of books. My 10 year old reads these very quickly and enjoys them the whole time. Good vocabulary. Boys need to read books like these. They are memorable and teach things that have been forgotten. They are not watered down and politically correct.
John Dennis Fitzgerald intended to chronicle his youth in Utah for adults, not children. His publisher thought otherwise and the result are these gems. I don't even call them children's lit gems because I find them just as enjoyable as an adult. Before I go on, you should know that Fitzgerald wrote one book about his youth that is for adults, called "Papa Married a Mormon". It is one of the most amazing books on the American west that I have ever read. Sadly, it is out of print, and you may, like me, have to pay an exorbitant sum to get a copy. Trust me, save up and do it. Now back to this book. Every single Great Brain book in the series is pure gold, and the entire set can be had cheaply, so I say buy them all at once. I "put my money where my mouth is" as Tom the Great Brain would say, and bought the lot.
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