In Frindle, why was Nick's conversation with Mrs. Granger surprising?

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nick Allen enters Mrs. Granger's fifth grade class at the beginning of the year intending to keep up his same old antics.  One thing that he frequently does is ask unnecessary questions in class to waste time.  He calls these questions "teacher-stoppers."  In previous years, these types of questions worked.  

Mrs. Granger is famous for loving dictionaries and words.  Nick knows this, so he is quick to ask her where all the words in the dictionary come from.  Mrs. Granger immediately sees the reason for Nick's time-wasting question.  She responds by assigning him an oral report on the topic, which is due the next day.  Nick is surprised by her response.  Teachers do not normally see through his time-wasting questions.  Not only does Mrs. Granger know why Nick is asking the question, but she also assigns him a difficult research project.  His plan does not work out at all the way he intends.  He realizes that what the other kids in school say is true.  No one messes with Mrs. Granger.