After reading Jennifer’s recommendation I decided to reserve this one at the library. I collected it today and read it in an hour before turning it over to my ten-year-old. It is about a fifth grade boy who is not afraid to push the limits; he is not out to cause trouble, he just wants to see what will happen. Always ready with a clever question just before the homework assignment is given out, Arnold finds his delay tactic backfires when his teacher asks him to research the answer to his own question. His research gets him thinking about words, how they came to be and why.
When we were studying Romeo and Juliet with the Group of Four, we looked at Juliet’s speculation that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. The activity that followed was very amusing as the children created small skits where familiar words were replaced by other words. One group replaced the names for things found in an average Sunday morning church service. The strawberries were welcomed and the dish soap led in prayer. I guess you had to be there but it was quite funny.
In Frindle Arnold replaces the word ‘pen’ with the word ‘frindle’, First a few of his friends play along, eventually most of the school is participating and it looks like things might be getting out of hand. A battle ensues with the students up against the teacher and principal. His teacher appears all along to be his staunchest opponent, but in his mother he finds an unexpected ally. The media picks it up and Arnold becomes something of a celebrity.
Frindle is an amusing and thought provoking book, which would be great to read aloud to boys and girls. I enjoyed reading a book where the dictionary takes centre stage, vocabulary is played with and etymology is entertaining. After finishing it A10 also gave it the thumbs up. She liked the fact that there was trouble and a mean teacher. When she mentioned the teacher, I asked,”Did you really think she was mean?”
To which L12 replied,” She is looking at it from the kid’s perspective, while you are seeing it from the teacher’s.” She’s quite right, but either way it is worth reading.