Book Review of Frindle by Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements’ first chapter book, Frindle, has been around for a while, but I only heard about it recently. It was published in 1998, but I kept seeing it at the top of Amazon’s bestsellers for the 8-10 crowd, and I thought Paul might enjoy it. There are some illustrations in the copy I read, and it was fun to see the work of Brian Selznick (of The Invention of Hugo Cabret fame – you can read my review of that book here)

Frindle by Andrew Clements Book Review by What My Kids Read

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Frindle is a short, fun book to read about Nick, a young boy who learns how words are made, and decides to invent a new word for “pen.” He rallies his classmates together as their language arts teacher valiantly fights to save the word “pen.” In the end, Nick learns about more than just the power of words. I think would be a fun book to read out loud to the kids.

The message of this book is that ideas can change the world.

This book is pretty clean. The children are disobedient in their insistence to use the word “frindle,” but it is more like civil disobedience that actual rebellion. Please see my rating for more details.

Frindle by Andrew Clements Book Review by What My Kids Read

My Mom-Meter gives Frindle an overall safety rating of 1 (Safe) for ages 7 and up.

The Lexile rating for Frindle is 830L.

Click here to skip to a Plot summary

Click here to skip straight to Potential Discussion Points

Click here for Paul’s Review

Category ratings (click on the category to see specifics):

Alcohol/DrugsSafe - no actual four-letter words

BullyingSafe - no actual four-letter words

Disrespectful AttitudesModerately Safe

GamblingSafe - no actual four-letter words

Gross BehaviorSafe - no actual four-letter words

LanguageSafe - no actual four-letter words

Magic/SupernaturalSafe - no actual four-letter words

MoralitySafe - no actual four-letter words

Romance/SexSafe - no actual four-letter words

Scary ThemesSafe - no actual four-letter words

ViolenceSafe - no actual four-letter words

Plot summary of Frindle: ***Contains Spoilers***

Wikipedia has a decent plot summary here.

Potential Discussion Points for Parents in Frindle:

  • Nick has lots of ideas, but he doesn’t always consider the consequences. How does his experience with the word “frindle” teach him about consequences? Why did he feel cautious about sharing his ideas?
  • The children’s insistence to use the word “frindle” was disobeying Mrs. Granger’s rules. You might want to talk with your kids about civil disobedience and when is might be okay to disobey.
  • Nick’s idea to change a word ended up changing the world in a small way. You might want to talk with your kids about how ideas (like equality or freedom) have changed the world.

Frindle by Andrew Clements Book Review by What My Kids Read

Alcohol/Drugs: None

Bullying: None

Disrespectful Attitudes: 

  • Nick and his friend Janet would secretly make a loud “peep” to annoy a teacher. It was a part of Nick’s “science experiment” to see if the teacher could tell where the sound was coming from.
  • “Nick was the expert at asking the delaying question – also known as the teacher-stopper, or the guaranteed-time-waster… Nick could launch a question guaranteed to sidetrack the teacher long enough to delay or even wipe out the homework assignment.”

Gambling: None

Gross Behavior: None

Language: 

  • Nick says he doesn’t want to talk to a reporter because he “might say something stupid.”

Magic/Supernatural: None

Morality: None

Potentially Offensive Behavior:

Romance/Sex: None

Scary Themes: None

Violence:

  • The word “grenade” is used twice. As in a “thought-grenade.”
  • Nick’s disagreement with Mrs. Granger about the word frindle is called a war or a battle. In one scene, he thinks of himself as a general.

From an eight-year-old’s perspective: “I think this book was good because it was funny. I liked that Nick changed the word “pen” to a funny sounding word like “frindle.” It was really good. I think boys and girls would like this book, especially if they like funny books.”

Frindle by Andrew Clements Book Review by What My Kids Read

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Frindle

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So what do you think?

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