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.
This was our latest audio book in the car. After listening to all five of the Gregor the Underlander books it was time for something shorter and less involved. This one was less than two hours long, but told an engaging story that had my children thinking and asking questions and was a nice change of pace. Nick Allen has a reputation for questioning authority and getting other students interested. He is also very good at getting teachers off track. When he tries this with his new fifth grade language arts teacher it backfires on him and he ends up with an extra report to do before the class about the topic of his question. When he decides to invent a new word it spirals out into the community and the country in ways he never could have imagined.
My children loved that "frindle" meant pen and my two year old repeated it every time we heard it in the story. Even though the age range was 8 to 12, my four year old had no trouble following the story. I'm thinking part of the age range is the age of child who would be able to independently read the book, not comprehend it. Part of what captivated my children so much was that someone not much older than they are could do something that would be noticed by the whole country. I think it is hard for children and even adults to imagine doing something worthy of national attention, as Nick's creation of a new word was. News stories were done locally and then blossomed to national news. He became famous for using what he learned in school to create a new word.
In college I read one of Clements books for a class, The Landry News, and I recall enjoying it. But I never got around to reading any of his other books. I think I am going to have to look for them since my children enjoyed this one so much.
Pub. Date: June 2009
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Format: Compact Disc
Age Range: 8 to 12