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by Andrew Clements illustrated by Brian Selznick


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    • Grades: 3 - 6
    • Ages: 8 - 12
    Caldecott Artist ; Newbery Author
    • Format: Paperback Book
Short Summary
Filled with rousing action and unpredictable outcomes, this wise and funny novel about the perils and privileges of free speech features a hero with a will of iron…and a heroine with a heart of gold!

Product Details

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What if one day a kid decided to invent a word? Could he do it? Could anyone stop him? That's what fifth grader Nick Allen wonders when his teacher, Mrs. Granger, tricks him into doing an extra report on dictionaries. Lately she's been getting the better of him in class, and he'll do anything to outwit her. That's when he gets his big idea.

The action shifts into high gear when Nick resolves never, ever to use the word pen again. Instead, he'll call a pen a "frindle." Soon he has five trained operatives at work spreading the word throughout the school. They've taken the oath, too—never say "pen," only "frindle"—and before Nick can say "the frindle is mightier than the sword," the whole town is under his sway.

Mrs. Granger doesn't like it. She makes kids who say "frindle" stay after school and write one hundred times, "I am writing this punishment with a pen!" But there's little she can do to stop it. Because before long the word is on T-shirts, on the news, everywhere!

There's no telling how far the prank will go…or how Nick will feel about it now that it's completely out of his control.
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Product Details

    • Grades: 3 - 6
    • Ages: 8 - 12
  • Product Type: Book
  • Page Count: 128 pages
  • Dimensions: 5 1/8" x 7 5/8"
  • Language: English
  • ISBN 13: 978-0-439-60727-8

Editorial Reviews

"With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves." —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Andrew Clements grew up in a family deeply devoted to books. "I'm certain there's a link between reading good books and becoming a writer," he insists. "I don't know a single writer who wasn't a reader first." His family spent summers at a cabin on a lake in Maine where there was no TV, no phone, no doorbell. "All day there was time to swim and fish and mess around outside, and every night, there was time to read. I know those quiet summers helped me begin to think like a writer."

After college, Clements went to work for a publisher in New York where, as editorial director, he got to work with many authors, illustrators, and author-illustrators—and try his hand at creating his own picture books. But it was only in 1990 that he began trying to write a story about a boy who creates havoc by coming up with a new word for "pen." Published in 1996, that book, Frindle, became his first and most popular novel, launching his career as full-time children's book author.

Clements has written over 60 books for children and young adolescents—from readers to stand-alone novels to series like Jake Drake and Pets to the Rescue. When kids ask how he's been able to write so many books, his answer is simple: one word at a time.

"You don't have to do everything at once," he says. "You don't have to know how every story is going to end. You just have to take that next step, look for that next idea, write that next word. And growing up, it's the same way. We just have to go to that next class, read that next chapter, help that next person. You simply have to do that next good thing, and before you know it, you're living a good life."

About the Illustrator

Brian Selznick graduated from the Rhode Island School of Art and Design in 1988 and began working at Eeyore's Books for Children in New York City. His first book, The Houdini Box, was inspired by a fascination with the famous magician. Later he designed theater sets and worked as a professional puppeteer.

Selznick has illustrated both novels and picture books for other writers, but it was his illustrations for Barbara Kerley's The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins that won him a Caldecott Honor Award in 2002. In 2008, his groundbreaking book The Invention of Hugo Cabret was awarded the Caldecott Medal. Nominated for a National Book Award, it became the basis for Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning film Hugo. His follow-up illustrated novel, Wonderstruck, debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Selznick's cinematic style of storytelling is unique in children's literature, advancing the narrative with pictures as much as through words, and with such detail, nuance, and pure visual magic that readers feel they've completed an epic by the time they flip the final page.