Frindle Critical Overview
by Andrew Clements

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Critical Overview

Andrew Clements's work has been praised for a number of qualities. Barnes and Noble featured Clements in their summer reading program in 2008, and their vice president for children's books, Josalyn Moran, praises Clements for his wit and for being "thought-provoking." While those accolades refer to his work in general, comments specific to Frindle have been just as complementary. The novel won children's choice awards in more than twenty states, won the Christopher Award for upholding values of the human spirit, and Utah's Beehive Fiction Award.

Critics find much to praise in the novel. Writing for Horn Books, Elizabeth S. Watson calls the plot of Frindle a "tall tale," and praises its inventiveness, and, especially, its humor. Numerous critics praised the novel for what it offers children, especially for its love of language. A sign of Frindle's influence and power are the numerous Frindle-based contests designed to create a "best new word." An unsurprising but useful treatment of Frindle is found in Joan Novelli's article "Fact vs. Opinion," which guides instructors in how to use the novel to teach critical thinking based Clements approaches to research, ideas, and argumentation.

As well as noting its unique qualities, a few critics remark on how Frindle relates to the other works aimed at younger readers. Discussing a stage version of the novel, Dawnell Smith draws parallels between Nick's clashes with Mrs. Granger and Harry Potter's interactions with Professor Minerva McGonagall, suggesting that in both cases the lead character grows through rigorous, official authority. Publishers Weekly suggests that "frindle" becoming a real word. Kay Weisman sees parallels between Frindle and Avi's Nothing but the Truth, which also focuses on a clash between an independent student and a teacher's authority.