From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3 - The message, that "no brain is the best,/ Each brain finds its own special way," is a worthy one, but the didactic text doesn't work and the plot strains belief. A little girl, out for a walk in the rain, meets a brain named Fred who is looking for his head, and asks him to make her smart. He tells her that "smart" is only a word that a brain named Complain came up with so "some brains can rule all the rest." Everyone, he insists, has a special talent that can be cultivated, and no one is better than anyone else. Having made his point, Fred then "dip[s] out of sight" into a head that just conveniently appears. The rhyming text doesn't always scan: "Fred then smiled up at me,/ And said, 'Thank you/ For bringing me home, Lucy.'" The illustrations, all large cartoon spreads, afford close-ups of the girl and Fred eye to eye, and when Complain is told "No brain is the best!/ You are just an old pest!" his inflamed face is depicted over a spread, pupils crossed in their yellow orbs, huge teeth flashing in a grimace. Shadow illustrations of a dog chasing or fighting with a cat appear throughout. A lengthy discussion guide is provided for parents and teachers, and the information about how to nurture the brain with activity, nutrition, and exercise is fine. However, most youngsters' brains will not be engaged for long with this tale. - Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT
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About the Author
Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., is a child and adult psychiatrist, the director of the Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Concord, Massachusetts, and a senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School. He is the coauthor of the national bestseller on attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Driven to Distraction, and the author of a number of other important works, including The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, Connect, Answers to Distraction, and When You Worry About the Child You Love, which was named best book of the year on child development by Child magazine. A graduate of Harvard and Tulane University School of Medicine, he lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, with his wife and three children.