Frindle

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.

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3 thoughts on “Frindle

  1. ChristineMM

    This is a popular book in public schools and is on some reading lists for summer reading around here. Kids seem to love Clements books and he has a bunch of books on the market so that says they are selling, to me.

    I first chose not to read this as after reading the synopsis on Amazon I was under the impression it was disrespectful to a teacher and a glorification of kids disrespecting adults. HOwever later I found out I was wrong.

    We read it as it is in “Deconstructing Penguins” and I was doing a book discussion group facilitated by the author of “Penguins”.

    Both my son, then 8, and I liked the book. To anyone who worries that the book may be rude children oriented, just hang with the book and it all comes out good in the end!

    Although these are all focused on kids in school my homeschooled son (now aged 9) enjoys reading them, he is reading them by himself now, finished “The Report Card” and is now on “The Landry News”.

    Enjoyed your post! Linked through from Semicolonblog.

    Reply
  2. Jennifer, Snapshot

    I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! I just asked my daughter if she thought the teacher was mean, and she said, “not really–just strict.” I think that Arnold and the others saw her as caring, yet strict–sort of like vegetables–good for you.

    I had the same reservations as Christine, but I’m glad to see kids presented as innovative, yet not disrespectful.

    Reply
  3. Heather Post author

    I had not heard of Frindle before I read about it on your blog, Jennifer and on someone else’s also. I don’t think I would have picked it up at the library had I come across it by chance. I love discovering new authors for myself and my kids to read.

    I’ll have a look for the other titles, Christine and see what we think.

    Reply

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