cover image Frindle


Andrew Clements. Atheneum Books, $16.99 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80669-8

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. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)