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. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3^-6. Ten-year-old Nick Allen has a reputation for devising clever, time-wasting schemes guaranteed to distract even the most conscientious teacher. His diversions backfire in Mrs. Granger's fifth-grade class, however, resulting in Nick being assigned an extra report on how new entries are added to the dictionary. Surprisingly, the research provides Nick with his best idea ever, and he decides to coin his own new word. Mrs. Granger has a passion for vocabulary, but Nick's (and soon the rest of the school's) insistence on referring to pens as "frindles" annoys her greatly. The war of words escalates--resulting in after-school punishments, a home visit from the principal, national publicity, economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs, and, eventually, inclusion of frindle in the dictionary. Slightly reminiscent of Avi's Nothing but the Truth (1991), this is a kinder, gentler story in which the two sides eventually come to a private meeting of the minds and the power of language triumphs over both. Sure to be popular with a wide range of readers, this will make a great read-aloud as well. Kay Weisman
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