Last updated Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Author: Andrew Clements
Illustrator: Brian Selznick
Date of Publication: 1996
ISBN: 0689806698
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2007

Synopsis: From Publishers Weekly: Always one step ahead of his teachers, Nick not only can "feel a homework assignment coming the way a farmer can feel a rainstorm" but can dream up a distraction to prevent the assignment from being given. In fifth grade, however, he meets his match in tough language-arts teacher Mrs. Granger. Just to get under her skin?and despite her loud protests?he invents the word "frindle" and convinces the whole school to use it instead of the word "pen." The word spreads to the city, nation and world, and Clements (Big Al) fast-forwards the story by 10 years to show that "frindle" has made it into the dictionary. With this coup Nick gets a big surprise: the proof that Mrs. Granger was rooting for "frindle" all along. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, his well-worn word has become real. Dictionary lovers will cotton to this mild classroom fantasy, while readers who have a hard time believing that one person could invent a word out of thin air will be surprised to learn that the word "quiz" was invented the same way.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who or what is Frindle? (It’s the name of the pen)
•  Can a regular kid be a hero/role model? How?
•  Who is your role model or hero? Why do you look up to them?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you ever use a word that you share only with your friends? Do your parents or family members use?
•  Have you ever made up a word?
•  Why do you admire Nicholas? Did he ever quit? Did he succeed in what he wanted to do?
•  How did Mrs. Granger help Nicholas accomplish his goal?

Craft ideas:
•  Create your own dictionary. Divide paper in half and cut. Then stack the two papers and fold in half again. Place between construction paper to form a book. On each page, draw pictures of things and give them a new name.
•  Draw items of things and write the different names for them. For example, Dog: hound, puppy, pooch, canine, doggy ….

Special activities:
•  Have the kids choose a word and look it up in the dictionary. Discover where the word originated from and how it became the word we use now. By the way, “Frindle” is not in the dictionary. This is a fiction book!

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!