Saturday, March 26, 2011
Clements, A. (1996). Frindle. New York, NY: Scholastic.
Nick is a very smart 5th grader, extremely skilled at delay tactics used towards his teachers when they are just about to hand out homework. His classmates encourage and expect this from Nick until he is put into Mrs. Granger's class. Mrs. Granger is the fifth grade language arts teacher and was keen to Nick's classroom antics. After being outsmarted by his teacher, Nick decides to fight back by using Mrs. Granger's explanation of who creates words against her, creating his own word. From that moment on, Nick and his classmates begin a campaign to use the word "frindle" for pen. Furious, Mrs. Granger wages war on any student heard using frindle, keeping them after school each day. The chaos attracts the attention of the local news and before long, Nick appears on the CBS evening news and Late Night with David Letterman telling his story, and further spreading his new word. A businessman in Nick's town begins making pens with the word frindle printed on them. But as the popularity of his word spreads and Nick becomes older, was his experiment actually Mrs. Granger's intended lesson all along?
This is a thought provoking little book. The relationship between Nick and Mrs. Granger and the lessons they both learn through Nick's word experiment was a wonderful student/teacher exchange. The smart and creative Nick challenging his teacher's beliefs is a great lesson for students and teachers alike, to let our beliefs be challenged and learn from these exchanges. Tweens will identify with the smart and funny protagonist and find humor in the students rising against their school. Teachers will love this book because of the lesson in it.
Ages 8 - 12
teacher-student relationships, etymology
1997 Christopher Award
Rhode Island Children's Book Award 1998
Nick Allen: fifth grader; smart and witty; likes to mess with his teachers; creates a new word as a way to frustrate his teacher, having no idea how far his idea will go
Mrs. Granger: Nick's fifth grade language arts teacher; is at first bothered by Nick's experiment, but begins to realize the importance of Nick's experiment
What begins as a way to frustrate his teacher, Nick's creation of a new word spreads beyond what he could have imagined.