Frindle, Andrew Clements

Synopsis: Nick Allen is kind of a smart alec and a huge prankster. His English teacher Mrs. Granger is the no-nonsense, been-around-the-block teacher. Nick has a knack for asking questions to get the teacher on a tangent– but she knows what he’s up to! She replies, “Good question, research that and come back.”  He researches how words originate.  When he tries to get Mrs. Granger on a tangent again, she basically says we agree on what something is called and go for it.  He experiments: he will only call pens “frindles” and see if it catches on. He has a pact with a few friends who agree to also call pens “frindles”.

Mrs. Granger is not a fan. It becomes a distraction for the most part.  The word spreads like wildfire. In an attempt to slow it down, kids get detention. The new word reaches the local news. Someone trademarks  “frindle.” Nick goes on Letterman, man, LETTERMAN! Eventually, all the fuss dies down, but frindle took root. It belonged to Nick, but it became something for everyone.

Ten years later, Nick gets a letter and a gift from Mrs. Granger.  She had written him a note in fifth grade (which he had signed the flap of the envelope). He discovers that Mrs. Granger was rooting for him and “frindle.” Frindle is now in the dictionary. She tells her students about Nick Allen, and his word creation.

Mrs. Granger gets a gift that Christmas frindle ends up in the dictionary– a gold fountain pen. “To Mrs. Granger– who can call this whatever she chooses.”

Commentary:

  • First book read since my interim started (um, that wasn’t a re-read, I guess I should say.) It may have been 105 pages… it may have been on a fifth grade reading level… but I read for an hour, kids. Praise the Lord!
  • “So Bookworm, you haven’t started a new book since your new job as a READING TEACHER… and you picked this? Why?”  I’ve meant to read it because it won a Christopher Award.
    • Also, I had a girl reading picture books for her reading journal. She needed to be upgraded (she’s a smart girl, just a lazy reader). This has illustrations, looked cute, and was 105 pages. I read it to see if I could recommend it. I definitely can.
  • Speaking of illustrations, the amazing Brian Selznick took care of that.(Won Caldecott for The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Another author I have to check out, but his illustrations… WOW!) His picture of Nick on David Letterman= literally LOLed, showed my husband, who was also like, “Wow, seriously?”
  • I love Mrs. Granger.  She knows all the tricks. She says she’s playing the villain. She knows a good thing when she sees/hears it. The word would have died a peaceful death without her instigation.
    • Also, I love the “Good question, look it up!” technique. It’s true, it’s way more interesting when you research yourself, and two, boom baby, she knows her stuff.
  • I appreciated the subject matter of the book. Words are weird, when you think about it. It’s amazing, in a world where no one agrees on anything, we agree on most words (other than slang).  How the heck did we decide, “That’s a cat. Dog.  You will be you, even when there’s more than one person, unless you all are from the south, y’all.”
    • Yes, seriously, I have thought about these things. Yep, have even done the thing where you say a word repeatedly then wonder if it’s really a word because it sounds strange.

Class Stuff:
Grades: 3-6
This would be one I’d pass on to my niece. It’s pretty innocent (indicated by Christopher Award), and it would work for a reluctant reader. 
Grade:  A
It’s been super hard to find time and energy to read more than what I have to do for class. (I KNOW, right?) But I did (on a weeknight, too), and it was awesome.

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Filed under Children's Literature Class, Realistic, Uncategorized, Upper elementary

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