Monday, March 10, 2014
A Review of 'Frindle' by Andrew Clements (Audio Book)
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."
I remember reading this in third grade. It was in my least favorite teacher's class and I remember that it was the class where I was sent to break (essentially time-out) for the first time in my school-attending life, but I remember that we read several books that I remember to this day. Frindle was one of them. So when I was volunteering at a school all January long, I got to pick the books my reading groups would read and I was excited to find this and also to find that it was a book at four boys' reading levels. It worked out, although half of the boys didn't care for this book. Oh well, to each their own.
I think the reason why I like it so much now is because this book is primarily about the connection between a boy (a fifth grader) and his teacher. It's an interesting bond (in the best way possible), for sure. The ending got to me the most. It's really easy to think that the most strict teachers just don't care about their students and the "fun" teachers care a lot. That's not a fair distinction. One of the top reasons why people become teachers is because they want to make a connection and make a difference in the lives of young people. If that doesn't sound like caring, I don't know what does. Teachers are making the effort to become the best they can be even before they meet the kids they'll be teaching. That seems pretty selfless. I'm sure Ms. Granger had no idea what she was getting herself into when she was taking her education courses in college. She couldn't have known as she was busy taking her licence exam and applying for jobs. That's where I am right now. I've practiced by volunteering and working in classrooms, so I'm excited for whatever will come my way, but even I don't know what my life is going to be like when I have a classroom of my own. I don't know who my kids will be or what kind of needs they'll have. But I know that teaching is what I want and what I'll spend the rest of my life doing.
My point is, to have a realization like this revealed at the end of the book, it's really nice. Ms. Granger was on Nick's side the entire time. He had this crazy scheme that he came up with to spite her, but it didn't work because she cared so much. She wanted Nick to succeed and she continued to want that for him even after he left fifth grade and made his way through school.
Frindle is a short read, but you'll be amazed by what you read. Andrew Clements continues to be one of my favorite authors to this day. His books are for all ages.
I give Frindle: