Frindle by Andrew Clements

Frindle

Frindle

Nick Allen is such a smart-ass 5th grader at Lincoln Elementary School. He always comes up with great ideas to spice things up at school, sometimes in a negative way such as delaying lessons or wiping out school assignments by asking perfect questions at the right time hence the moniker – ‘teacher-stopper’ or ‘the guaranteed-time-waster.’

Then there is this Mrs. Granger, a real stickler for proper spelling and lover of dictionaries. She is a redoubtable figure among the 5th graders with an uncanny x-ray vision that allows her to always catch disruptive students red-handed and make them pay the price in a strict manner.

One day, as a punishment for causing a slight disruption in class, Nick is given an additional report to look into where all the words in dictionaries came from. He somehow manages to pull off the report as well as delay the class progression, and on his way back home from school he comes up with a brilliant idea of switching the word ‘pen’ with a word ‘Frindle’ which he coined on the spot.  And then he gets all his friends to use the newly coined word ‘Frindle’ instead of ‘pen.’ It was his little experiment, what he originally intended just for fun.

However, with a fiery opposition from Mrs. Granger, the word battle spins out of control and things start to get out of Nick’s hand…

 

I read this book several years ago but I decided to go back to it again now that I started this book blog.

Being a children’s book targeting 6 to 12 year-olds, it is relatively easyly-written so I recommend this book for novices of English books.

My first (technically second) impression was;  Nick is such a prankster and I don’t like him at all. He does all the things thinking he’s doing good for everyone, making school life a bit more fun, but for me, it was just annoying. First of all, school is where you STUDY not pull a prank, isn’t it? lol

That’s all the more reason why I enjoyed Mrs. Granger’s taking the wind out of Nick’s sails when she announces a special report for Nick to tackle when he, as usual, attempted to sidetrack so that Mrs. Granger wouldn’t have time to announce the day’s homework assignment. Nick might have gotten away with it once, but NOT TWICE. It is pretty refreshing to read; I felt like I was vindicated.

In the story, the whole ‘frindle’ thing causes quite a ripple effect and sweeps the country, but it didn’t leave that big of an impact on me. The description feels a bit all flat and lackluster to me, which may or may not be because it was the second time for me.

The change of tone comes around three-quarters of the book; having seen all the fuss and maelstrom he have caused by the ‘Frindle’ stuff, he starts to stash what he thinks ‘great ideas’ deep inside himself. He begins to be cautious about his words and deeds.
I found it was a nice change, it was the decisive point that turned this story from a mere typical kids’ story into something with a deeper meaning.

From that point onwards, this story just gets even more interesting and a quiet, yet moving revelation comes in the very end. I’m sure it will warm the cockles of your heart just as it did to me.

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