on July 6, 2004
At long last! An early reader chapter book designed to give full all-encompassing glory to language itself! Sort of. I first heard about "Frindle" some five years ago when it was burning up the bookshelves across the country. Kids couldn't get enough of the semi-raucous tale of one boy's attempt to make a contribution to the English language. Cleverly, author Andrew Clements has created a book that doesn't fall back into the old good vs. bad/teacher vs. student riff we all know so well. Though a book that is written with fairly young readers in mind, it successfully renders huge themes in bite size portions.
Nick Allen is used to getting great ideas. Who could forget his fabulous third grade attempts to turn his classroom into a sunny tropical isle in the dead of winter? Or his successful utilization of bird calls to annoy a fourth grade prof? But now Nick has come across a real challenge and her name is Granger. Mrs. Granger. As the woman in charge of the elementary school's language arts, Mrs. Granger is a true aficionado of the wonders of the dictionary. After tangling, and losing, with the clever teacher, Nick springs upon a brilliant idea. Why not add his own little word to the world's vocabulary? The idea comes to him in a flash, and before you know it he's grabbed the nearest pen and renamed it "frindle". As Mrs. Granger retaliates, defending (what in her mind is) the perfectly serviceable and already existing word "pen", frindle's popularity and publicity grows and grows. Yet in the end, it seems as though Nick was playing into Mrs. Granger's plans all along.
Accompanied by the really well wrought and beautifully designed illustrations of Brian Selznick, the book is just a low-key amusing look at how words affect people. Clements includes an array of interesting facts and ideas, some of which even adults will find themselves astounded by. For example, the book states that in 1791 a Dublin theater manager made up the word, "quiz" on a bet and that this word was (until the creation of "frindle") the only word in the English language made up for no particular reason. I tried to ascertain if this was true by glancing through my impossibly old Webster's Third New International Dictionary. When I looked up "quiz" I hit the following sentence: Unknown origin. That's proof enough for me, though I'm sure a glance through the OED would clear everything up. And how many books written with middle readers in mind give you such clever facts couched in an interesting story? I was delighted with the characters in this book. From clever Nick and his ideas to Mrs. Granger, an adult who is truly an intelligent match. Any villainy this book presents later turns out to be no more than a clever ruse. So kudos for giving teachers the credit they deserve at last! Kudos indeed.
A good pairing of books of this reading level with similar protagonists would be "Frindle" and the slightly more recent Lois Lowry offering "Gooney Bird Greene". Both books observe the use of language and how it affects us and both have clever red headed protagonists that defy all expectations. I doubt you could find two better books to present to kids with the hopes of getting them involved in reading. I give "Frindle" an especially warm recommendation and I am sure kids will be inspired by it. Go! Read! Enjoy!
on November 10, 2003
Clements writes a funny and fast-paced story about a 5th grader named, Nick Allen. Nick Allen is a typical, ï¿½class clown,ï¿½ always trying to distract his teachers. One day, Nickï¿½s Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Granger, teaches the students about the dictionary and the origin of words. This strikes Nickï¿½s interest in coming up with his own word. Nick begins to call a ball point pen a frindle, and before long his friends are using the word. The word, frindle, does not stop there; instead it spreads like wild fire among the school and even the town. The teachers are outraged by the popularity of the word that Nick made up. Even Mrs. Granger gives out detentions because of the word, frindle. Mrs. Granger and Nick continue to butt heads throughout the book, until finally they learn to appreciate one another. Will the popularity of the word, frindle land it a spot in the dictionary?
I enjoyed Clements clever and witty book, ï¿½Frindle.ï¿½ Children would find this book hard to put down, like I did, with its constant and easy to understand humor. They can read about a boy who takes on his teacher, his school and the world in a way, with his word invention. He is a student that is ordinarily seen as the class clown, who chooses to go against the grain. Although, he may have invented the word out of pure orneriness, he did prove to be very determined and persistent in keeping the word in circulation. This book will encourage the reader, no matter what their role is in the classroom.
Although some of the situations in the book seem wild and highly unrealistic as an adult, kids would be easily captivated by them. The majority of the book seems very realistic and also very easy for children to relate to. A good number of children have probably tired to invent a word or an object at some point in their life, so this story will hit home for them. If not, the mischief and ornery nature of Nick Allen will indeed hit home.
on August 21, 2003
This is a great book. Not only is it entertaining and funny and a quick read, but it's one of the favorite books that I give as gifts to kids because it sends such great messages: what you learn in school matters in the "real" world; it encourages creativity and emphasizes the importance and impact one person's idea can have; it portrays a wonderful relationship between teacher and student where they both learn from each other and help each other grow. It also teaches a classroom lesson about how words are formed without making you feel tricked into learning.
This is the story of a student, Nick, who decides one day to test if what he learned in school about how words are formed is true. He starts calling a pen a "frindle" and gets other students to do the same. The magnitude of the outcome is far greater than he ever expected. This book isn't just about the frindle story but about how Nick matures through this experience. Again, lots of good lessons as I mentioned above.
I'm really careful about the books that I give as gifts to make sure that there are no ideas that parents would be uncomfortable with. This is 100% entertaining reading and good lessons that don't feel forced. Make sure you don't skip the chapter titles in Clements' books either-- they're pretty clever and add to the fun. (Especially in Landry News and School Story)
on April 22, 2003
Frindle, the realistic story by Andrew Clements, is about a boy called Nick, who is very intelligent and creative. He is very kind and likes to think of new ideas and do his own things. He is not particularly bad, but somehow he seems to get himself into lots of trouble.
The story is set in New Hampshire in America. It is written in modern times. The title of the book is Frindle and this is the new word Nick has created for a pen. Nick called a pen a frindle because he questioned why a pen was called a pen. Nick has just started fifth grade and his language arts teacher is Ms Granger. Everybody hates her because she is mean and makes all the children look up their mistakes in the dictionary. Ms Granger loves her dictionary and she tries to make the children use it a lot.
One day after school, Nick was walking home with his friend Janet Fisk. Janet saw a pen lying on the ground, she picked it up and it slipped out of her hand again. Nick picked it up and handed it to her and for some strange reason, he said, "Here is your Frindle." As he said this, he had a great idea; he said, "Hey, instead of the word pen, why don't we call it a frindle." The next day Nick was telling everyone about his new word, frindle. Ms Granger got irritated with Nick and told him to stop using the nonsense word. A week later the principal requested to see Nick's parents about Nick and his new word frindle. The principal asked Nick's parents to tell Nick to stop using his made up word.
Unbelievably other strange things happen, with the use of the new word. If you want to hear about the rest of this story read this fabulous and great book Frindle.
I recommend this book, because the characters are believable and funny. It is not like any normal school classroom. Once you start reading the book, you won't want to put it down. The pages will be turned quickly. Nick is half cool and a bit geeky, but you can't help but like him.
on December 20, 2002
Ten-year-old Nick Allen has a reputation for devising clever, time-wasting schemes guaranteed to distract even the most conscientious teacher. His diversions backfire in Mrs. Granger's fifth-grade class, however, resulting in Nick being assigned an extra report on how new entries are added to the dictionary. Surprisingly, the research provides Nick with his best idea ever, and he decides to coin his own new word. Mrs. Granger has a passion for vocabulary, but Nick's (and soon the rest of the school's) insistence on referring to pens as "frindles" annoys her greatly. The war of words escalates--resulting in after-school punishments, a home visit from the principal, national publicity, economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs, and, eventually, inclusion of frindle in the dictionary. Slightly reminiscent of Avi's Nothing but the Truth (1991), this is a kinder, gentler story in which the two sides eventually come to a private meeting of the minds and the power of language triumphs over both. Sure to be popular with a wide range of readers, this will make a great read-aloud as well.
on November 26, 2002
By Andrew Clements by Simon
Pictures by Brian Selznick
Winner of the Christopher award
Is Nick Allen a trouble maker? Well, maybe. In 4th grade he made his classroom a tropical island, then a few days later, the arctic. But then on to fifth grade. Fifth grade meant business. It meant a lot of homework. It meant getting ready for middle school. When Nick found out he got the meanest teacher, he knew, she said, "Look in the dictionary." Whenever they had a question, she said, "Look in the dictionary." When Nick asked his best friend Chris for a frindle because he forgot one, he tossed him an ordinary pen. They planned on it. And when the word got so popular in the school Miss Granger, Nick's teacher, had to put a sign up on the bulletin board that said "Whoever uses the word frindle will have to stay after school and write frindle 100 times. Signed Miss Granger." About 200 kids stayed after school every single day. The parents didn't like it and they marched over to school and took their kids away. When Nick graduated from High School and went on to college, he was rich. People all over America were using the word and factories were making pens in gold letters that said frindle on it. There were T-shirts, baseball caps, everything you can imagine that said the word frindle on it with a picture of a pen. And so when Nick was rich, one day when he found a dictionary on his doorstep, and he opened the letter that said "look on page 48", so Nick flipped to 48 as fast as he could because it said "signed Miss Granger" on it. And then he found the word frindle. On Christmas Eve when Miss Granger was looking forward to her retirement, she found a single letter in her mailbox. There in sloppy fifth grader writing, she found a letter, "you are one of my favorite teachers. From one of your students." And Miss Granger knew exactly who it was from.
I highly recommend the book Frindle and it's published by Aladdin Fiction. It's a fiction book. I think it would be a good book for 8, 9 and maybe 10 year olds. If your child's a really good reader and you think he or she is ready for it in second grade well maybe you can give it a shot. Maybe even 7 years old you can try. I really recommend it and I think maybe even parents that are interested in books for their kids, chapter books, I think that they might be able to read it to see if they like it or not.
on April 16, 2002
Frindle is an interesting realistic fiction book by Andrew Clements. In this story there are two important characters. One is Nick Allen and one is Mrs. Granger. Nick Allen is a student in Lincoln elementary school and Mrs. Granger is the grade 5 teacher of Lincoln Elementary School. Nick is a smart, playful, and funny boy. Mrs. Granger is a powerful, scary and thoughtful teacher. She is old, helpful and hard working too. Mrs. Granger loves dictionary. One-day Nick's friend found a pen on the floor. Nick started calling it Frindle and that's the start of the trouble. At class time nick threw the pen forward and backwards with his friend to tell Mrs. Granger what a Frindle is. Nick's word Frindle became very famous in that all the people in the school were used the word Frindle. Mrs. Granger gave lines to the children who used the word Frindle. There were so many children who were using the word Frindle, the school principal had to visit Nick's parents, but Nick's mom ignored it. It was a big, big story that went on the news. Nick became very famous and rich. Now all the children in the world knew the word Frindle. All the things that printed Frindle were selling it fast. Time passed, Nick Allen was in college. One day, he got a box. It was from Mrs. Granger his grade five teacher. There was a letter, a dictionary, and a case. Nick read the letter and found out that Mrs. Granger was not giving lines for the kids to stop using the word Frindle. Nick felt so thankful to Mrs. Granger. Next he opened up the dictionary and a sign said, page 541 he opened up the page and saw the word Frindle. It said, Frindle meaning... he was surprised to know that his word has gotten in the dictionary. He was so happy. At last he opened the case it was a pen. It was Mrs. Grangers favorite pen.
I recommend this book because I think is interesting that a 5th grade boy made up a word Frindle.
on April 11, 2002
Frindle is a humorous realistic fiction story by Andrew Clements. Nick Allen was an inventor, because he created a word called frindle. Frindle means a pen. Ms. Granger is a language teacher who hates the word frindle and wants everybody to use the word pen. All of then America hears about the new word that Nick Allen invented, so Ms. Granger can't make everybody to use the word pen. In the book Frindle it took place in Lincoln Elementary School, which is where Nick's school is. This book took in the modern times. Nick Allen called a pen frindle because one time Nick and Janet Fisk had missed the bus because of the school newspaper meeting. They walked home together and then while they were walking Janet dropped her pen out of her pocket. Nick help Janet pick it up and said, "Here is your frindle!" That was when he changed the word pen in to the word frindle. If you want a humorous story then read the book Frindle by Andrew Clements. I recommend this book to all of the 4th and 5th graders because it had Great detail, zippy beginning and ending, and most of all interesting words.
on February 16, 2002
As an elementary school librarian, I can say that "Frindle" is one of the finest books for intermediate grades I have read in a long time. I only regret that I didn't read it years ago, so I could've been recommending it to teachers to read-aloud and to students who would like a humorous, yet thought-provoking, story.
Like most successful books for kids, "Frindle" works on many different levels. It's funny, fast-paced, and while the main character, Nick, is kind of a class clown, he has qualities that even a mean teacher like Mrs. Granger would like. And even though Mrs. Granger has a reputation for being strict, she also earns the respect of children and parents. While some situations are a bit far-fetched, this story is still quite realistic. We get a glimpse how a seemingly insignificant event at a small town elementary school through a media-frenzy becomes an international phenomenon. Can anyone say "fad?"
3rd through 6th grade teachers should consider reading this book about the invention of a new word, "frindle," to their classes. Both teachers and students will enjoy it.
on October 20, 2000
Nick Allen isn't a troublemaker, he isn't extremely bright or extremely dumb, either. But he DOES have a fertile imagination and an uncanny gift to "stump the dummy" as we say in educational circles: ask that PERFECT question at JUST the right time during class that will make the teacher go off-track and waste time.
Well, that is, he's able to do that until he meets up with Mrs. Granger, the language arts teacher of his elementary school. Mrs. G. is something of a filtration system, or perhaps a gatekeeper: you want to go to middle school? You've got to go through HER and her class!! An early attempt to get The Lone Granger off-task and into the proverbial weeds (in an attempt to avoid getting a boring homework assignment) by asking her how words get into the dictionary only succeeds in earning him a research project on the very topic. Mrs. G is not a force to be trifled with.
In another attempt to derail the rushing train of language arts education, he asks WHY words mean what they do?? Very simple: words mean what they do because collections of people AGREE that they have that meaning. On a walk home from school, inspiration strikes: what if one was to call a pen something else... Something like "frindle"?? What would happen then??
You can, of course, just imagine. Like most catchy slang, "frindle" spreads like a virus among the 5th grade, and within a couple of chapters, the school, the town, the state and even the NATION is calling pens frindles. What's even MORE important is that no one seems to REMEMBER the word "pen" anymore, and most folk don't care, either.
"Frindle" incorporates all of the fine elements of young adult fiction: it's believable enough to draw readers in immediately; it's got the conflict of Good vs. Evil (Nick vs. his teacher, ol' Mrs. G); and it has the Clever Kid who Puts One Over On the Stodgy Grownups.
Of course, what's more is that "Frindle" can oh-so-easily lend itself to Serious Discussion about etymology, slang, and word usage. English is perhaps one of the most vivid, fluid and fastest growing of the world's spoken tongues, and yet most students find the study of it dry, tasteless and booooring. "Frindle", in addition to being a fine read, is a great way to get kids thinking!!
Read this book!!