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

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  3,465 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
The Great Brain faces the challenge of life at a strict Catholic boarding school with daring exploits and money-making schemes.
Paperback, 164 pages
Published January 15th 1982 by Yearling (first published 1972)
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Jeyn Roberts
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Mar 18, 2009 is currently reading it
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
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
John Krug
Jan 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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

Jeff Sparkman
Apr 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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!
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-lit
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.
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love this series, and this one has always been my favorite in the set. Tom's adventures away from home are excellent.
Anthony Ventrello
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Everything I know about Jesuit priests I learned from this book.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you like funny or weird books, than The Great Brain Books are for you. There are at least five or six, and they are all individual stories, so it doesn't matter when you read any of them. The Great Brain at the Academy is especially great because it shows how kids think in different situations and how they react to events. The books will make you have mixed feelings for the characters and the events they experience. Overall, great easy book.
Lili Rucker
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was great
Laine Lund
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a great read. I really liked it.
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Our family loves this series. We read them all and are always laughing or talking about.
Heather Culley
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am getting to like that kid better.
Elisheva Rina
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a funny book, part of a great series, but the Great Brain is truly a sociopath/psychopath. I'm too lazy to figure out how to mark spoilers, so just stop reading now if you don't want one of the many stories in this series to be ruined for you...

I'm not sure if this story is even in this book, but basically, the youngest brother's dear rocking horse is stolen and Great Brain/Tom manages to get his father to promise him a reward if he finds it. Of course, Tom does, but when the whole famil
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
** spoiler alert **

Oh Tom and his money-loving heart :D :D :D. Jika buku ketiga menceritakan soal J.D. sepeninggal Tom pergi bersekolah maka buku keempat ini kembali menjadi T.D. sebagai pusat cerita.
Tom and his money-loving heart berusaha nyari uang bahkan sejak dalam perjalanan naik kereta menuju Salt Lake City.

Tom menderita oleh banyak aturan di sekolah. Tapi bukan The Great Brain namanya kalau dia tidak nyari cara untuk keluar dari penderitaannya. Dari hukuman yang harus dia lakukan setiap h
Michael Emond
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mark Twain fans, kids, anyone who's read the other books
3.5 stars

The fourth book in the series, The Great Brain at the Academy follows the constantly scheming Tom while he attends a Catholic academy. He outsmarts the superintendent, starts a black market for candy bars, and even introduces a new sport to the academy. Tom is a wonderfully developed character in this book, as his sympathetic side is shown more often, yet he's still delightfully conniving.
I liked that there was more tenderness and warmth in this story than in the first one, but I als
Matt Willden
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Danica Stone
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jack Cheng
Mar 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Okay, now I'm reading just one chapter to the kids and then reading the rest of the book after they go to bed. This is a good entry, although a bit repetitive in explaining that JD is reconstructing events through TD's letters and Sweyn and Tom's reports. I wasn't that thrilled with the train ride to the academy, but I have fond memories of the "Candy Store" and especially how Tom carved a key out of wood. Did not disappoint thirty years later.
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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!
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is much lighter and fluffier than the first one. We waited with bated breath to see if T.D. would get caught at any of his rule-breaking! A great introduction to the structure of the Catholic church and a bit of history about the Catholic academy that existed here in Salt Lake (which I'm assuming is true?). Candy, basketball, and Tom's money-loving heart were all featured prominently, and my boys loved it. An excellent way to live vicariously and discuss the consequences!
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
Great memory reading this many years ago but had forgotten the name of the book series. I remember this story from childhood vividly. I remember this boy going to boarding school and having to peel lots of potato spuds and teaching everyone to play basketball and being really naughty. Taught me everything I know. haha. A friend recently brought this series back to my attention.
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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)
“at the Throttle ALL WEEK I WONDERED what could possibly have happened to Tom on his first train ride that made it the most exciting experience of his life. When I finally received his second letter I understood why he had said that all the kids in town would turn green with envy. When I showed the kids the letter they didn’t actually turn green any more than a yellow-bellied coward has a yellow belly. But you never saw such a bunch of envious kids in your life. When Tom came home for the Christmas vacation with Sweyn he told Papa, Mamma, Aunt Bertha, our four-year-old foster brother Frankie, and me all about riding in the locomotive from Provo to Salt Lake City.” 0 likes
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