Best 1969 YA & YYA Lit (10)
January 27, 2019
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1969 YA & YYA adventure novels. Happy 50th anniversary!
John D. Fitzgerald’s frontier adventure More Adventures of the Great Brain (ill. Mercer Mayer).
In the first of several sequels to 1967’s The Great Brain, John D. Fitzgerald brings us back to Aden, a fictional Utah pioneer town in 1896 — and recounts Tom Sawyer-ish stories loosely inspired by his own experiences as an adolescent growing up in Price, Utah, in the nineteen-teens. Like J.D., the young narrator of these stories, Fitzgerald was the son of an Irish Catholic father and a Scandinavian Mormon mother; and he had a conniving but not entirely wicked brother, Tom. At the end of the first book, Tom (the self-proclaimed “Great Brain”) had seemingly reformed — i.e., by refusing to accept payment for helping the suicidal Andy Anderson adjust to his wooden leg, and by returning J.D.’s genuine Indian beaded belt. Tom is back at his old tricks again, however, in such yarns as “The Night the Monster Walked” (in which monster tracks, which appear to lead from Skeleton Cave to the river and back, lead to a panic), “The Taming of Britches Dotty” (about the transformation of a neglected girl; Tom teaches her to read, which is admirable — but his mother’s efforts to make Dotty conform to female gender rules is less so), and “The Death of Old Butch” (about Aden’s mourning of the death of a mongrel dog). Mercer Mayer’s illustrations are terrific.
Fun facts: Subsequent installments in the series include Me and My Little Brain (1971), The Great Brain at the Academy (1972), The Great Brain Reforms (1973), The Return of the Great Brain (1974), and The Great Brain Does It Again (1976). A (lame) 1978 Great Brain movie starred Osmonds brother Jimmy.
BEST SIXTIES YA & YYA: [Best YA & YYA Lit 1963] | Best YA & YYA Lit 1964 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1965 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1966 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1967 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1968 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1969 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1970 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1971 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1972 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1973. ALSO: Best YA Sci-Fi.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.