By Andrew Clements
Hi! Do you like books where people make up words? Well, that’s what this story is all about. It’s about a kid who makes up a new word and wants to get it in the dictionary. It takes him a while and he has an opponent, his fifth grade teacher, but it’s a great battle and no one will quit!
The main character’s name is Nick Allen. One time, Nick turned his whole third grade classroom into a tropical island. He put paper palm trees on each desk. Everyone wore flowers in their hair and the boys wore sunglasses and beach hats. And he even turned the thermostat up to about ninety degrees. And then he put white sand all over the classroom. But the sand got tracked out into the hallway and the custodian told the principal. They had a trip planned to go to the South Seas, but the principal cancelled that.
Nick loved 3rd grade and 4th grade, but 5th grade was different. 5th grade meant Mrs. Granger. Mrs. Granger was a teacher whom everyone feared. She was obsessed with the dictionary. She gave her students a word for the day every day and, for the students who didn’t look it up in the dictionary, she gave two words for the very next day.
It’s sixth period. Mrs. Granger teaches that class. Nick is famous for stalling. Nick asked her a question about the dictionary. She said, “Good question! Why don’t you look it up in the dictionary so you can give a report on it tomorrow?” Now, Nick has extra homework!
While doing his homework that night, Nick thought up a brilliant plan. Nick made his report super long, so that, even though the class might be bored while he was reading it, maybe they wouldn’t be given a homework assignment.
After school the next day, three things happened. Three things that have to do with each other that bring the whole point of this story together. The first thing was that Nick’s friend Janet found a pen. The second thing was Nick finally understanding what Mrs. Granger meant when she said, “Who says ‘dog’ means ‘dog’? You do Nicholas.” (Nicholas is Nick’s full name.) The third thing that happened was when Janet dropped the pen she was holding. Nick picked it up and said, “Here’s your frindle.” And that’s when he got the big idea!
The next day, Nick asked his friends to go and ask a lady from a store for a “frindle.” The first time someone asked, the lady said, “What’s a ‘frindle”? They pointed to the blue and black pens. Nick had decided that “frindle” was a real word that meant “pen.”
You remember earlier when Mrs. Granger said “Who says ‘dog’ means ‘dog’? You do Nicholas”? Well Nick thought to himself, “Who says ‘frindle’ means pen? You do Nicholas.” Everyone went back to Nick’s house and wrote an oath: “From this day on and forever, I will never use the word PEN again. Instead, I will use the word FRINDLE, and I will do everything possible so others will, too.” All of his friends signed the oath with a FRINDLE. The plan would work!
The plan was put into action. Nick raised his hand the first thing that morning and said, “I forgot my frindle.” And then John, his friend, blurted out, “I have an extra one you can borrow.” Then John made a big show of looking for a frindle in his backpack. Finally, he found it. He threw it over to Nick. Nick missed it. That pen that Nick missed had a new name: frindle! Mrs. Granger made the whole classroom be silent. At the end of class, Mrs. Granger asked Nick if she could talk to him. He walked up to her desk and they had a little chat about the frindle. All she did was talk about how Nick disrupted the class. Then, he left.
Will the plan go just right, will there be errors, will Mrs. Granger stop it all, or will Nick and his group of buddies succeed? As I always say, read the book to find out!
I recommend this book to advanced readers because there were a few words that I didn’t understand. It was a little hard to read.
A few helpful things I like to say about the books I read:
“Run and Get Mom” (how I describe the scariness factor): There were no scary parts in this book.
“Yucky-Lovey Stuff” (how I describe the romance factor): There was no yucky-lovey stuff in this book.
I give this book 3 wands.
It was a little hard to remember. I had a little trouble writing this review because of it.