Monday, November 03, 2014


A review by Theresa of the Children's Room: 

If the book Charlotte’s Web is one of your favorites, then you probably have a lot in common with 10-year-old Fanny Katzenback the main character in Joanne Rocklin’s Fleabrain Loves Franny

This story is set in the 1950’s when the serious disease polio was attacking many children and making many more very afraid of getting sick.  When introduced Franny is in the hospital recovering from this terrible illness. Not a simple matter as the polio virus attacks the lungs of the patient making it difficult for them to breathe and necessary for them to lie inside a “big, wheezy green iron tube called and iron lung.” Lying in this machine that helped her breathe meant that she could not hold a book, so the tutor read to her every day. When Sister Ed the tutor started reading to her from a newly published book, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, it was love at first listen and Franny asked to hear it again and again. 

Finally well enough to go home and live outside of the iron lung, Franny started finding some unusual notes from someone who knew her deepest secrets. Thinking they were written by her sister Min, she ignored them. But Fleabrain, a very smart flea who was living on tail of Franny’s dog, persisted and they finally end up meeting and sharing adventures made possible due to his magic powers. But this is more than just a magical adventure tale of two friends slightly similar to those in the famous book, as the author gives the reader access to another period in time and a chance to meet an incredible girl who overcomes much to regain her place in the world. 

For grades 4-6.

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