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Review: Fleabrain Loves Franny

November 14, 2014

Fleabrain Loves Franny

Franny is a young girl with polio who adores Charlotte’s Web.  She is struggling to learn to walk again so is left out of many activities, including school.  Fleabrain, a very brainy flea, befriends her and takes her on adventures she never could have imagined.

I have to admit that I was drawn to Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin because of its adorable cover and catchy title.  I read the synopsis and thought it sounded sweet so I decided to give it a try.  I think Rocklin tried to do too much with the book, though, so it ended up just being okay for me.

I really liked the fact that Rocklin showed the fear surrounding polio in the early 1950s.  I also liked the way she showed what it was like to live with the disease – or, really, any disability, back then.  Franny’s school wasn’t willing to, and didn’t have to, make accommodations for her and she felt isolated because of it.  Historical details were included as well, including the lengths FDR went to to hide his polio, the birth of the March of Dimes, and the discovery of the polio vaccine.

I found Franny’s relationship with Fleabrain to be a little far fetched and felt it distracted from what could have been a great historical fiction book for middle grade readers.  Having said that, I thought Rocklin’s writing was terrific and would happily pick up another one of her books.

The audio version of Fleabrain Loves Franny is narrated by Julie Marcus and she does a wonderful job!  The audio is on 6 CDs and lasts approximately 6 and a half hours.

Listen to an excerpt:


kid konnection newI will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site tomorrow.

Review copy provided by Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.
9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2014 10:02 am

    Even with its problems, this sounds like a book that shouldn’t be missed.

  2. Patty permalink
    November 14, 2014 3:20 pm

    Really…I agree with Vasilly…probably should not be overlooked!

  3. November 14, 2014 3:27 pm

    This sounds like a great way to learn about polio, Kathy. (I learned a thing or two about it from the excerpt.) Thank you for your honest review!

  4. talesofwhimsy permalink
    November 14, 2014 6:12 pm

    This intrigues me.

  5. November 14, 2014 11:27 pm

    I love the cover, and I think I’d like it!

  6. November 15, 2014 3:31 pm

    I think the goofy flea might disguise the educational aspect of the book – a good thing in my boys’ case. If I told them a book was educational, they’d run the other way!

  7. November 15, 2014 8:58 pm

    This does sound like a sweet read and an interesting way to educate kids about polio. I’d probably find the fleabrain friendship to be farfetched too though 🙂

  8. November 15, 2014 9:56 pm

    What an interesting topic for kids!

  9. bookingmama permalink
    November 17, 2014 10:52 am

    Oh! I wanted this one to be so good!

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