Book Review: Frindle by Andrew Clements

This is a book my little sister, Maleia, read and really enjoyed. She asked me to read it and I suggested that we post a join review of the book here.

Maleia’s rating: 4.5/5 stars

My rating: 4/5 stars

cover frindle

Amazon description of Frindle

Is Nick Allen a troublemaker? He really just likes to liven things up at school — and he’s always had plenty of great ideas. When Nick learns some interesting information about how words are created, suddenly he’s got the inspiration for his best plan ever…the frindle. Who says a pen has to be called a pen? Why not call it a frindle? Things begin innocently enough as Nick gets his friends to use the new word. Then other people in town start saying frindle. Soon the school is in an uproar, and Nick has become a local hero. His teacher wants Nick to put an end to all this nonsense, but the funny thing is frindle doesn’t belong to Nick anymore. The new word is spreading across the country, and there’s nothing Nick can do to stop it.

Maleia’s (age 9) review:

This book is very funny, especially the characters. Nick is the main character.  I liked that he was impulsive and that his plans worked out for other people, but definitely not himself. Nick is a trouble maker, but is smart as well. Making up the word caused trouble for the grownups in his life, especially Mrs. Granger, but he hadn’t really done anything wrong, and the other kids thought he was smart to make up a new word.

Mrs. Granger is his English teacher and she loves the dictionary (almost worships it). She hates getting rid of the word pen because of its history, which starts a battle with Nick. In the end, the reader ends up liking her character, even if we thought she was the “villain.”

The plot was kind of realistic but did not feel like it could actually happen in real life. This made it fun to read because it was like going into another world. Each event hooks you into the next event and makes you keep reading. I liked how the adults got involved in it. I thought it was funny how the parents supported their son even though everyone else thought it was a problem.

I loved the way the author packed so much into the small book. I would recommend this book to people who like humor and pranks.

My review:

I actually really enjoyed reading this book. It was quick–barely two hours, I think–but there was a lot of plot crammed in (as Maleia said).

I was expecting the plot to be ridiculous, but it actually came of pretty realistic. The way the word spread across the world–which could have been cheesy–surprised me with its simplicity and believably. My father (who works in marketing) said that the licensing aspect of the plot was also accurate. Overall, the plot was crazy enough to be in a middle grade book, but relatable enough for older audiences to enjoy.

I liked Nick as the protagonist. He was smart and creative with his pranks, and none of them were crazy enough to destroy believably. His pranks–and the dynamic they created with Mrs. Granger–reminded me of Love and Other Unknown Variables.

The book’s focus on word origins and language was well done. Clements conveyed his message and factual information in a fun and engaging format. For me, it felt like it told its message rather than showing it, but for a younger audience I don’t think that was so much of a problem.

The back cover says it is appropriate for ages 8-12. Personally, it read younger than that, but since the main character is in fifth grade, I understand where this ranking came from (maybe). I would recommend it to kids in elementary school (especially in 2nd or 3rd grade) who want to read a book written with simple vocabulary and voice but with a more advanced message.

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