Frindle. Andrew Clements

PUBLISHER, 1996; Awarded 1999.

Synopsis:  Nick Allen is a creative and very nearly naughty fifth grader, whose legendary teacher, Mrs. Granger, catches on to all his tricks.  When Nick is assigned a report about the dictionary, he becomes fascinated with the notion that ordinary people like himself influence what words go into a dictionary and determine their meanings.  To test this theory, he serendipitously invents a new word for pen, frindle, and much to Mrs. Granger's chagrin, the word catches on, not only in his school but throughout the nation.  Even though she forbids the use of the made-up word, Mrs. Granger is secretly proud when frindle eventually finds its way into the new edition of Webster's Dictionary.  And through the process, Nick grows fond of his remarkable, ingenious fifth grade teacher.

Themes:  School, Teacher/student relationships, Dictionaries, Humor, Creativity


Discussion questions:  Standard 3, Benchmark 3
1. The author has described Nick as, very nearly naughty.  List some ways that Nick fits this description.
2. In what ways do Nick and Mrs. Granger admire each other/
3. What does this story show us about language?

1. Invent a word of your own just as Nick does, and then design on paper a product to showcase your word, i.e., a T-shirt or a cap.  Include both words on your product, the word we now commonly use and your new word, along with the dictionary definition, pronunciation guide, and origin, the way Nick's new word is listed in the dictionary.  Standard 3, Benchmark 2
2. The story includes the reporter Judy Morgan's article in the Westfield Gazette describing the frindle incident.  How might the article be different if written by the principal, or by Nick's mother, or by Nick or by Mrs. Granger?  Write another article for the paper pretending the writer is one of these other characters.  Standard 3, Benchmark 4
3. The author compares Nick and Mrs. Granger's confrontation to a game of chess.  Try choosing another metaphor and describing the confrontation using your metaphor.  Standard 3, Benchmark 2