post written by Emma Filbrun
Author: Andrew Clements
Major Themes: 1980s, Children’s Books, Language
Synopsis: Nick Allen is very clever at coming up with time-wasters, and he has hit upon the perfect one—or so he thinks when he asks his teacher how words get into the dictionary!
This is a fun book! My boys thoroughly enjoyed reading it together, and I enjoyed it, too. One of them kept picking it up and sneaking a read ahead.
Nick Allen has just started 5th grade, and he tries his tactic for sidetracking his teacher with a question just in time to stop her from giving out the homework assignment for the day. He asks her where all the words came from that are in her dictionary. Well, Mrs. Granger has a surprise in store for him…she assigns him to find out and report to the class next day! And he still has to do homework that night. He tries again when he gives the report, using up all but 8 minutes of the class period…and fails again! She can pack an entire hour’s lesson into 8 minutes and still assign homework. However, Nick gets another brilliant idea on the way home.
Who says that the word “pen” means “something to write with in ink”? Why not a new word, such as “frindle”? And so begins the war of the word. Who will win? Mrs. Granger, who says we must respect the Latin origin of “pen”? Or Nick and all his friends, who are having fun using the new word?
I have enjoyed all of Andrew Clement’s books that I have read. Each one takes the reader through a number of twists and turns, and ends with a totally unexpected discovery. Frindle is no different. Any 5th-grader who enjoys reading for fun will love this book—and so will others who enjoy a good story.