Fleabrain Loves Franny

  • Review
By – June 15, 2015

Take a jour­ney back to the ear­ly 1950s, a sim­ple era with lim­it­ed tech­nol­o­gy and gen­tle ways. But this era also includ­ed the hor­rors of poliomyelitis, a crip­pling dis­ease that struck down many peo­ple before a vac­cine was final­ly dis­cov­ered. One of its vic­tims is Fran­ny, a young girl whose body was ram­paged by the virus which left her unable to walk. Fran­ny spends much of her day by her­self. Her friends, fear­ing she is still con­ta­gious, stay far away. With only her sis­ter and par­ents to keep her com­pa­ny, and an occa­sion­al vis­it from a very demand­ing nurse, Fran­ny feels alone and iso­lat­ed. When she reads Charlotte’s Web, Fran­ny longs for the com­pa­ny of her own Charlotte. 

Enter Fleabrain, a flea with a genius IQ and sev­er­al tricks up his tar­sus (leg). Fleabrain, feel­ing very lone­ly him­self, befriends Fran­ny. He strives to bring hap­pi­ness back into her life by being her friend and con­fi­dant. Through the mag­ic of his sali­va, he takes Fran­ny on glo­ri­ous trips around the world, as well as through her neigh­bor­hood, where they occa­sion­al­ly inter­vene to help their neigh­bors out of sticky situations. 

Fleabrain Loves Fran­ny is a mul­ti-lev­el read filled with friend­ship and adven­ture. Fleabrain helps Fran­ny through her lone­ly, frus­trat­ing days but dis­cov­ers in the end he can’t fix ev­erything. Fran­ny has to learn to accept her­self the way she is and move for­ward with her life. 

Author Joanne Rock­lin weaves a sto­ry filled with friend­ship and adven­ture and con­cludes with a pow­er­ful mes­sage: You are okay just the way you are. She also includes an author’s note with back­ground infor­ma­tion about polio, fur­ther high­light­ing the prej­u­dices lev­eled at peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties. There is also a detailed bib­li­og­ra­phy for more read­ing enjoy­ment. Fleabrain Loves Fran­ny is a great read! It will enter­tain and delight 9 – 12 year old girls, while empow­er­ing them to believe in themselves.

Mar­cia Ber­neger is a retired teacher who lives with her hus­band and three crazy dogs. She taught both first and sec­ond grade, as well as spe­cial edu­ca­tion. She cur­rent­ly teach­es Torah school, in addi­tion to her vol­un­teer work in class­rooms, libraries, and with var­i­ous fundrais­ers. She lives in San Diego.

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