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The Great Brain at the Academy
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The Great Brain at the Academy (The Great Brain #4)

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  2,905 ratings  ·  79 reviews
The Great Brain faces the challenge of life at a strict Catholic boarding school with daring exploits and money-making schemes.
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published June 3rd 1985 by Dial (first published 1972)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeyn Roberts
I loved these books so much as a child. But I think this one was my favourite because of the way Tom managed to earn so much money selling candy bars.

I'd recommend this series to anyone...young and old.
Mar 18, 2009 Caleb is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Every Kid in town is glad that Tom is leaving Because they have all been swindled at one time or another. When Tom got on the train to go to private school in Salt Lake City, no one but his family where there to see him go.

The moment Tom met Father Rodreguez they got off to the wrong start. Tom was very dirty and the Father hated dirty kids. Tom soon learned that if you were bad then you had to peel potatoes or clean the bathroom. All the kids only got ten cents worth of candy each month. Father
A great book for boys! This series was a favorite from childhood for all the kids in our family. I remember my teacher and my mom reading them to us, and then re-reading them several times later.

Having read these aloud now myself for homeschool, I was surprised by the mature themes that I didn't remember. I still recommend the books, and think that dealing with these topics through literature is a much safer way to expose kids to the struggles of life than the street/ family/ friends/ news talk
Wendy Darling
For some reason, my husband read very few books as a child. This makes me so sad! So I coaxed him into reading this to me bit by bit every night. It's one of my favorite MG books, which follows the hijinx of Tom D. Fitzgerald, a boy genius with a money-loving heart who gets into all sorts of trouble at a boys academy in the late 1800s.

I really enjoy Tom's schemes to run a forbidden candy store, his outwitting punishments for "bad" behavior, and the way he figures out a magician's mind-reading t
Tom gets himself into and out of trouble quite fluently in the fourth book in the Great Brain series. There were quite a few laughs in this one and we really enjoyed it as a family read-aloud.
John Krug
The absolute best of the truly outstanding eight book Great Brain series. Although Adenville is wonderful, T.D.'s adventures with a whole new cast of characters in Salt Lake City, including a group of very cagey (yet caring) priests, are even better.

By the way, if you'd like to see the original cover art for this book (as well as the rest of the book's illustrations), check out

this book is an excellent book as the fouth book in the series. i have read it many times and certainly will again. the story line is engaging and exciting with every page. in it the great brain is away from home at a jesuit boys' school, where he finds ways to bring the boys candy and make some money--as well as eat candy--himself. truly an enjoyable book and a read-again
Jeff Sparkman
Among all of John D. Fitzgerald's Great Brain books, this is probably my favorite--it was the first one in the series that I read. The next book, The Great Brain Reforms, is a very close second.

When I was a kid I never thought I'd be interested in a story that took place at the turn of the 20th century, but this book proved me wrong.
This one was definitely my favourite of the series. I don't even know how many times I checked this out from my local library as a child, it was delah.
Tara Lynn
This particular entry in the series had special meaning. As a fellow graduate of more years of Catholic school than I can count, Tom's adventures in a Jesuit-run school for boys really make me smile. Very funny!
All of the Great Brain books are charming, delightful stories to read to your kids. Very cleverly thought out and written. Fun reads.

This particular one is my favorite of them all.
Nov 21, 2008 Chip rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with 9-12 year old children
Recommended to Chip by: My Aunt Diane
Probably one of my favorites out of the series, I still remember (and this has been at least 20 years since I read it) many of the details. Great series of books, little known though.
Anthony Ventrello
If you thought the priests could reform The Great Brain, think again! Like the other books in the series this is a must read and cannot put down.
I love this series, and this one has always been my favorite in the set. Tom's adventures away from home are excellent.
Everything I know about Jesuit priests I learned from this book.
This book inspired me to become an entrepreneur when I was 10 years old. We lived right on the border of a golf course. Every few days, I would collect all the golf balls that had flown into our yard. Then I would go out on weekends during the day and sell them to golfers that would be driving up the green in their carts. A few years later, I began selling candy at my middle school! I bought Airheads and Blow Pops for 10 cents each, then resold them for 25 cents!
Michael Emond
This is just a great series of books that hold up from the time I read them as a child to the time I am reading them to my child now. This is my favourite of the books because it not only shows the Great Brain, Tom, at his smartest but it also shows him meeting his match in the Reverend who runs the academy. Tom starts his journey on a train and ends up the Jesuit Academy for boys. He is at the age where his schooling must continue away from his home town and he must cone to grips with the rules ...more
Neccia Sirrine
Tom D. Fitzgerald goes to a catholic academy in Salt Lake City. This book tells of his adventures and trickery used against the boys in the academy. I would recommend this book to all young and all. Its humor and variety is very intriguing and holds the interest because you want to find out what happens next. This book is an older style of life and shows the imagination of kids in the fullest.
The Great Brain at the Academy

When Tom and Sweyn come back from the Academy for Boys in Salt Lake City, Tom tells his brother, J.D, all about his first year at the Academy.

At the Academy, Tom, aka the Great Brain, races into his old ways. He opens up a candy store, makes so many bets, forms a basketball league, and so much more.

What will happen next year at the Academy?
Matt Willden
I loved the Great Brain books as a child, and was delighted to come across this one last year and read it to my children. It has a charming 19th century feel, with occasional references that may need explaining to the iPod generation, but certainly a worthwhile read to teach children that all great strengths need a little tempering from time to time, and that not all authority figures--particularly at school--are bent on ruining their lives. Also enjoyable because Tom's clever ideas and adventur ...more
Katie Hilton
The Great Brain takes on the Jesuits, who run their academy in Salt Lake City like a reform school. He doesn't win all the confrontations, but at the end of the year, the Great Brain hasn't been expelled, and he and the superintendent have gained each other's respect. The Pope plays a small role, too. Great fun!!
Picked this up at a thrift store. Really fun story. I want to read the other ones and they are freaking expensive! The one I have is typically sold for around $20-$40 for a paperback kid's book? I hate it when I like a series I can't afford.
This is my absolute favorite of The Great Brain series! I loved these books as a kid and have enjoyed re-reading them again and again as a parent. These kids are so adorably naughty they remind me of my own sons.
I always wonder if the site of the old Utah Technical College (where Trader Joe's is now on 4th South and 5th East) was the location for the Jesuit Academy that Tom attended in this book.
The Great Brain books are a fun series set in the late 1800s about a boy who uses his brain to trick and swindle other kids as well as solve mysteries the adults can't. Great nostalgia.
I still love this book. It was my favorite in this awesome series as a child (because there's candy in it - I am easy to please) and it's my favorite now. The older I get, the more enjoyable it is, actually, because now I can appreciate the historical perspective of what it was like to live in Mormon Utah, as Catholics, in the 1890s. And now that my wife has converted to Catholicism, I can appreciate a lot more of the historical details of that, too. Especially in this book since he goes off to ...more
Lanelle Duke
Extremely entertaining. This is the best book of the series so far. I read have been reading them aloud to my girls who are 8 and 10. Tom's antics were very funny this time around. We had some good laughs - we especially liked the candy store.
Erika Johnson
The Great Brain serious was a childhood favorite for the wittiness of the characters and the simple writing style.
Rick Stuckwisch
Another great book in the series. Both poignant and humorous, and beautifully written. Probably a close second to "Me and My Little Brain," as far as my favorite Great Brain books go. Our copy of this one is pretty ragged and falling apart, and taped up in about a dozen places, but it still reads.
Sara Cook
I'm enjoying reading these books to my 4th grader who gets a big kick out of all the shenanigans.
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John Dennis Fitzgerald was born in Price, Utah, on February 3, 1906, to Thomas and Minnie Melsen Fitzgerald. His father had a pharmacy degree but engaged in a number of business ventures and served on the Price Town Council for four years. John graduated from Carbon High School and at the age of eighteen and left Utah to pursue a career as a jazz drummer. He wo
More about John D. Fitzgerald...

Other Books in the Series

The Great Brain (8 books)
  • The Great Brain (Great Brain #1)
  • More Adventures of the Great Brain (Great Brain #2)
  • Me and My Little Brain (Great Brain #3)
  • The Great Brain Reforms (Great Brain #5)
  • The Return of the Great Brain (#6)
  • The Great Brain Does it Again (Great Brain #7)
  • The Great Brain Is Back (Great Brain #8)
The Great Brain (Great Brain #1) More Adventures of the Great Brain (Great Brain #2) Me and My Little Brain (Great Brain #3) The Great Brain Reforms (Great Brain #5) The Great Brain Does it Again (Great Brain #7)

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