|Fleabrain loves Franny|
Author: Rocklin, Joanne
This middle-grade novel takes place in Pittsburgh in 1952-53. The protagonist is Franny, a young girl of imagination, curiosity, and stubbornness. While recovering from polio, she begins a correspondence with a flea named Fleabrain.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 169069
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/14)
School Library Journal (08/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/11/14)
The Hornbook (00/11/14)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 08/01/2014 Gr 4–6—Franny has polio in the summer of 1952. Her Jewish family is trying to do everything they can to support her, but in this Pittsburgh neighborhood Franny is relegated to watching her friends do all the things she wants to do. Along comes the flea known as Fleabrain, who lives on the tail of Franny's dog, Alf. Fleabrain is a genius—inspired by the newly published Charlotte's Web by E. B. White (also a favorite book of Franny's), or perhaps Kafka, or even by surviving periodic attacks of flea powder. He is also a voracious reader. An entertaining cast of characters include older sister Min, errant friend Walter Walter, mean-spirited Nurse Olivegarten, and Franny's lovely grandfather, Zadie. Fleabrain is a thinker and a doer, determined to get Franny going. The inclusion of details of daily life during the time period adds to the realism, but the fantasy adventures make clear that imagination is also at work. Comedic and philosophical, readers will find multiple levels to enjoy. The prejudice against persons with disabilities is startling, but as true to the time as collecting conkers and bottle caps. Fleabrain writes some bad poetry, admires James Howell's Paramoigraphyand the proverbs contained in that 17th century work. Rocklin includes an author's note reflecting on polio and the disablity issues, as well as offering a helpful bibliography and discussion guide, which will lend this title to social studies curricula. Useful and fun.—Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.