June 7, 2004
Have you ever thought of inventing your own word and have it emerge as an absolute sensation? In Frindle, a magnificent book by renowned author Andrew Clements, a young boy named Nicholas Allen is faced with a language-arts teacher who practically worships the dictionary. But it doesn’t stop there. From making students learn a new word out of the dictionary every day to making you do an oral report on the origin of English, Mrs. Granger tries hard to apply the dictionary into the lives of all the children she teaches. Mrs. Granger’s love of this everyday language fascinates Nick and he proceeds to make up his own word: frindle. Who says you can’t make up a word? Sure, a pen is named after the Latin pinna, but where did pinna come from, anyway? Nick was a curious boy with an extravagant idea.
“Frindle” spreads quickly. Almost immediately after the new word infects the school, Mrs. Granger, infuriated with the spread of the word, keeps students who say “frindle” after school and causes uproar throughout the community. Now, “frindle” spreads even more, and even Nick is surprised as the new word dominates the whole country. From San Fran to Times Square, Nick’s new word is being put in everyone’s vocabulary. Nick just watches (and enjoys) as money piles up into his bank account from wild sales of T-Shirts, hats, frindles, and who-knows-what all based on Nick’s word. Nick is on TV, in magazines, and he’s living the good life.
As Nick says in the very beginning, “From this day on and for ever and ever, I will never use the word pen again. Instead, I will use the word “frindle”, and I will do everything possible so others will, too.” This is very true. And in the end, even Mrs. Granger is okay with the fact that her precious dictionaries have been altered with the word “frindle”. If pinna is a word, she says, so is “frindle”.
And it’s taken the whole USA by storm....
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