Frindle Questions and Answers
by Andrew Clements

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The book "Frindle," by Andrew Clemens, tells the story of creative fifth-grader Nick Allen challenging his strict, traditional language arts teacher, Mrs. Granger. Nick and his classmates are bored by Mrs. Granger's reliance on the dictionary for teaching, but when Nick begins learning about the origin of words, he realizes inventing a new word could challenge his teacher's fixation on dictionary definitions. The word Nick invents is "frindle," which means "pen." The word begins spreading much more rapidly than Nick had expected. Soon his entire school begins using the word, then his town, and the word quickly continues spreading from there. Mrs. Granger attempts to punish her students for using the word, but soon enough all of them begin using it. Nick's family and teachers step in to try to stop the phenomenon he created, but it has spread far beyond Nick's influence at that point. The epilogue of the book shows Mrs. Granger sending Nick the latest edition of the dictionary, which contains the word "frindle," and claims in an attached letter that she resisted the spread of the word only to increase its popularity.

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“Frindle,” a novel written by author Andrew Clements in 1996, is about a fifth grade boy named Nick Allen. Nick has the reputation of being a troublemaker. In third grade, Nick turned his classroom into a tropical island. In fourth grade, Nick caused his teacher, Mrs. Avery, frustration when he randomly chirped like a bird during class. In fifth grade, Nick meets Mrs. Granger, the only language arts teacher in the school, and she has a reputation for being very strict.

Nick is renowned for cleverly asking a teacher a question near the end of the class that will take so much time to answer, that the teacher will forget to assign homework. When Nick tries this “teacher-stopper” in Mrs. Granger’s class, however, Mrs. Granger is the one who seems to ‘win.’ Mrs. Granger assigns Nick, and Nick alone, a research project: to investigate the origin of words in a dictionary. While Nick was originally disconcerted about having to complete this research, it became a catalyst for his greatest idea yet.

During his research, Nick learns that people ultimately choose which words are added to the dictionary. This spawns an elaborate idea for Nick: he will create a word. Nick chooses to rename a simple handwriting tool, a pen. He names it a “frindle.” He uses this word in class, to the annoyance of his teacher, Mrs. Granger. Nick also enlists the help of his friends; he gets his friends to use the word ‘frindle’ in place of ‘pen.’ As the word catches on, Nick’s classmates, schoolmates, townspeople, etc. are using the word ‘frindle.’ Nick’s word eventually becomes so popular, that he is invited to be a guest on The David Letterman Show. His word is used all over the country. Bud Lawrence, a local entrepreneur, invests in Nick’s word and creates a market for everything ‘frindle’: t-shirts, pens with ‘frindle’ written on them, baseball caps, etc. Nick’s father signs a contract allowing Mr. Lawrence the rights in exchange for royalties on the sale of these products. Several years later, Nick’s word ‘frindle’ becomes part of the dictionary, and Nick becomes very wealthy due to the monies he has earned from the sale of ‘frindle’ projects. Mrs. Granger, while she seemingly was upset at the idea of Nick using the word ‘frindle’ in place of the word ‘pen,’ was actually rooting for him the entire time.