A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Andrew Clements' Frindle is an irreverent story with lively writing and amusing illustrations that all add add up to a nearly perfect book for grade schoolers. Nick's cleverness and the way he tests authority figures are highly entertaining, and might inspire children to explore language creatively. Nick makes it his goal to eat up class time and avoid the "work" of school, so he may seem to be disrespectful of his teacher. But he learns a lot from their battle of wills, and so will readers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Andrew Clements' FRINDLE is the story of a young boy who engages his teacher in a battle of wills about words. Nick Allen tries to find clever ways to use up class time and avoid doing school work. In the past, he has distracted teachers from their lesson plans by asking questions that require long explanations. However, after he asks Mrs. Granger how words get into the dictionary, he's dismayed to be given extra homework: an essay on the history of the dictionary and the origin of words, which he will have to read out loud in class. Nick writes a report that's cleverly designed, again, to take up class time. When Mrs. Granger tells him his time is up, he pushes back again by saying that though he learned a lot about dictionaries from his research, he still doesn't understand where words come from. Who decides that a dog is called a "dog," for example? "You do," answers his teacher, and this inspires Nick to invent a new word for a familiar object- -- an idea that will disrupt school life far more than even Nick can imagine.
Is it any good?
This funny school story is highly entertaining and full of surprises. It appeals to kids' need to test boundaries and question authority, yet encourages solid values -- "homework first" is the rule in Nick's house. This is a winning story about a subversive kid whose clever idea will inspire readers to think more deeply and creatively about the power of language.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what Frindle teaches about the way dictionaries are made and how words become commonly used. Can you think of any words that are pretty new to the English language?
Can you think of a new word for something familiar to you? What would it be?
Have you ever had a clever troublemaker in your class? What's fun about reading stories set in school. Does that setting make them easy to relate to?
- Author: Andrew Clements
- Illustrator: Brian Selznick
- Genre: School
- Topics: Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Publication date: January 1, 1996
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 105
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: January 8, 2021
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