Perfect Picture Book Friday-Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain

By now, you all know that I am a fan of books that make me laugh. This one made me cackle! Seriously…there’s nothing serious about it! I almost laughed my head off…but I learned from this book that it’s probably not a good idea to laugh your head off…or lose your brain as Bobby Bramble did.  So without further adieu, and without any more bad jokes…I present:

Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain

Written by Dave Keane

Illustrated by David Clark

Publisher: Clarion Books 2009

Ages: 5-9

Themes: Humor, Problem Solving

Synopsis: (from Amazon) Bobby Bramble has a thirst for adventure, a taste for danger, and energy to spare. But no one in his family seems to appreciate these traits. Instead, they worry that he’ll fall and crack his skull open—and one day that’s exactly what happens. To make matters worse, Bobby’s brain decides to take off, as if it had a mind of its own. What follows is the madcap pursuit—and recapture—of the elusive gray matter and the successful reunion of brain and brawn. A hilarious cautionary tale full of mayhem—and wordplay.

Some Choice Lines:

“You’re really going to need your brain, Bobby,” warned his little sister, Bonnie,  “because you’re not very pretty.”

“Officer Ryan? This is Barbara Bramble. I’d like to file a missing brain report. Yes, it’s a runaway. Oh, I imagine it’s gray and about seven inches tall. But apparently my son has a very quick mind, because nobody got a good look at it!”

“Barbara? Hi, it’s Lorraine from down the street. Did you son finally lose his mind? I could swear I just saw it wandering around my petunias.”

“He’s as dumb as an onion, Dad, ” said Bonnie.

Resources: I did not find any resources for this book. Here is a great activity that Beth Stillborn suggested: One potential activity, based on the snippets of text you’ve given, might be to talk about figures of speech, and how they can mean something very different to their literal meaning. Lost his mind? A very quick mind? What others could kids come up with (not just about brains).

I have an idea, too. While studying the organs of the body, this could go along with facts about the brain. In the book, there is a line that says, “Oh, I imagine it’s gray and about seven inches tall.” The class could talk about actual size and color, and depending on the age level, they could go into more detail.

Oh! Just thought of a couple for writing activities.Where are three places your brain would go if it ran away? If your brain ran away, what would tempt it to come back home?

Why I Like This Book: It’s funny from beginning to end. It is the sort of story that will entertain adult and child readers, alike. David Clark’s cartoon-like illustrations add a hilarious, comical element. He nails the expressions of the characters throughout the book. The silliness in this story is contagious, which will make it a repeat read-aloud for the family or for a classroom. It’s hard to pick a favorite part from a book this entertaining, but if I had to, it would be Grandpa setting brain traps by using flash cards as bait! Totally cracked me up!

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, and mainly just perfect for those who love to read picture books. Here is a list of books by category. This is very handy for finding books for lessons in the classroom, or for finding books on a particular topic to discuss with your children at home. Each book listed has a link to a review and information about that book. There is also an alphabetical list if you scroll down past the category list.

34 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday-Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain

  1. This sounds like a really, really fun book to read, Penny! I’ll be on the lookout for more Dave Keane books. Would you know of other books he has written? I love David Clark’s illustrations on the cover. I hope this book is available in our library. 🙂


    1. He is the author and illustrator of the “Joe Sherlock: Kid Detective” chapter books series published by HarperCollins. He is the author of three picture books: “Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain” (Clarion), “Sloppy Joe” (HarperCollins), and “Daddy Adventure Day” (Philomel). I haven’t read his other books, but after finding Bobby Bramble, I have all intentions of looking for the other books.
      I hope it is available in your library, too. It is so much fun!


      1. Sloppy Joe!! *lightbulb moment* That’s why his name sounded so familiar. I haven’t read it but I’ve seen it a few times in the bookstore. I searched the other books you mentioned and he works with such talented artists, making his books exciting to read just by looking at the covers. Thanks for the ‘book list.’ 🙂


  2. So hilarious! I have to have this book. Thanks for adding it to the list. Books that make kids giggle are the best. A welcome relief for some from their lives. Awesome choice! (I had never heard of this one) 🙂


  3. I don’t know how I Missed this, but all those lines had me guffawing! Grandpa’s brain traps sound hilarious. Fabulous choice!


  4. Funny books are great…kids love them and this one does sound like it would be great to read aloud, at home or in school. 🙂 Thanks for a great review, Penny!


    1. Thanks, Erik. The title is what caught my eye, too. I went to the library to pick out books, and when I saw this one, I thought I’d give it a try. I’m so glad I did. It’s just hilarious!


  5. Oh dear Penny, this looks like a fabulous book! I just love the gorgeous book cover – if it’s any indication of the illustrations I would find inside, I’m sold! By the way, did you know of the NYRB book The Man who Lost his Head by Claire Huchet Bishop and Robert McCloskey? This poor chap did not just lose his brain – he lost his entire head. One of our GatheringBooks ladies – Iphigene did a thorough review of that particular book which you might also want to check out a few years back (2010, I believe, when we joined the NYRB Reading Week): – I have a feeling you’d love this one too.


    1. Thanks for the link. I can tell from the review that I want to read The Man Who Lost His Head. It looks really fun!
      I believe you will find the inside illustrations just as wonderful as the cover of Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain. They are excellent and, as with all great picture books, they tell their part of the story in the best possible way.


    1. Yes, I think kids would thoroughly enjoy this story. I shared it with my niece who teaches fourth grade, and she is on a mission to get it in her classroom. She said it is a must!


  6. Since I’ve warned my boys repeatedly about falling and cracking open their skulls (to no avail), I think I’m going to have to get this book. Thanks Penny!


      1. I found it at the library and put it on hold. I can’t wait. FYI, my boys love your Phyllis video. They were so excited to see the same groundhog that was in their house in Texas.


  7. One potential activity, based on the snippets of text you’ve given, might be to talk about figures of speech, and how they can mean something very different to their literal meaning. Lost his mind? A very quick mind? What others could kids come up with (not just about brains).


  8. This sounds VERY funny, Penny! Can’t wait to read it! Thanks for sharing. Maybe if we all put on our thinking caps we can come up with some resources/activities. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?


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