Monday, June 15, 2015

Frindle by Andrew Clements

Frindle by Andrew Clements
Atheneum Books for Young Readers 

Rating: 5 stars

After Lorelei begged me to read this for nearly half a year, I finally picked it up and read it in the crazy-busy last week of school. Much to the delight of the clutter in my kitchen, I'm never too busy to read! Lorelei is right--the book is hilarious and very worthy the praise it's received over the years.

(Frindle is a short chapter book and fine for kids to read on their own, but fun to read aloud with them.) 

Is Nick Allen a troublemaker? Not really. He just wants to make the time spent in his school a little more interesting, and when his usual pranks don't work with his new teacher, he has to get creative. Inspired by his teacher's love of words, and her very own explanation that we the English-speaking populace give credence to the definition of words, Nick invents a new word: "frindle." It means pen.

In just days the word spreads through the school, in weeks it goes beyond the school, and soon enough the word "frindle" is the next Big Thing in the country. It's hilarious to watch the debate between clever Nick and his teacher about whether he should get in trouble for this or not. I'm happy to report that relationships between the kids and grown ups in Frindle are respected though boundaries are pushed a an age-appropriate and above-average very funny way. Oh, and the ending is surprisingly tender-hearted. 

Without a doubt this is one of the best middle grade books I have read--so funny, so clever, so sweet! I continue to search for well-written books that feature great story lines and clever humor rather than cheap humor and yucky sarcasm. Some of the recent middle grade books that Lorelei and Ben have read in the past school year are just...not so awesome in my humble opinion. Yet Frindle is definitely in the category of Great Summer Read. Can't recommend this book enough for your summer reading list!

(And if you like it, Andrew Clements is known for mastering the middle school voice and has written dozens of chapter books about elementary and middle school! Click HERE for a list of his books.)

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