A book review for parents
This drama by Andrew Clements is published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.
Frindle is written for kids ages 8 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Like most new fifth-graders, Nick Allen fears language arts with Mrs. Granger. She is a small woman with piercing eyes who loves the dictionary and doesn't take kindly to Nick's creative homework-avoidance techniques. When Mrs. Granger points out that words acquire meaning because people agree upon that meaning, Nick has a brilliant idea: Along with a group of friends, he begins calling pens frindles. Soon, the whole town — and then the whole country — learns about the word war Nick is waging with his seemingly disgruntled teacher. Years later, when Nick is in college, Mrs. Granger sends him the first dictionary bearing the word frindle and admits she was on his side all along.
Nick's parents do their best to walk the fine line between supporting their son's creative endeavors and demonstrating respect for school authority. Although they feel the administration is overreacting to his use of the word frindle, they still urge Nick not to be disrespectful. Mrs. Granger seems upset by the frenzy caused by Nick's invented word. She even makes students stay after school for using it. As she later reveals to Nick, she is proud of his willingness to test the theories about word origins he learned in her class. She says she played the villain to make the situation more interesting.
Other Belief Systems
This book has won numerous awards, including the Christopher Award for Children's Books, 1997; Massachusetts Children's Book Award, 1999; and the Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Reader's Choice Award, 1999.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Nick shows us that you don't have to be the "most popular" or "most athletic" to be a winner.
What are some qualities that make Nick likeable and successful?
- What are some ways we can be creative without disrespecting authority?
- Do you think Mrs. Granger is a good teacher?
- What do you think about the way she reacts to Nick's new word?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.