Review: Frindle

Title: Frindle
Author: Andrew Clements
105 pages

Synopsis:  Nick Allen is always coming up with plans to liven things up at school. Then, when he finds out some interesting facts about how words are made, he comes up with his best plan yet. A pen is no longer a pen to him, it’s a frindle. Soon, his new word spreads across town. He’s a local hero! But when his teacher wants him to stop, he realizes that his word isn’t his anymore. It belongs to the whole country, and then the whole world!

Why kids would like this book: I think kids would like this book because it can inspire you, and because this book is funny and has great characters.

Why adults would like this book:  I was really surprised at how much I liked this book!  Reading a good “kid vs teacher” book can be entertaining, but this book is more of a “kid vs the world” story.  The way the plot evolves makes you feel just how plausible this scenario really is!

Miranda’s rating: 10 of 10. This book is hilarious, and the nicknames that the students come up with for their teacher, Mrs. Granger, are ridiculous. Also, the things Nick does in this book reminds me of something I would do.

Todd’s rating: 9 of 10. I honestly laughed out loud at several points in this book. At 105 pages, it is also a very entertaining fast read.

Miranda’s favorite character:  Nick. He is funny and clever, and very smart, too. I also like Mrs. Granger, aka The Lone Granger and Dangerous Grangerous!

Todd’s favorite character:  I agree with Miranda on this one–it is a toss-up between the clever Nick and the villainous (or is she?) Mrs. Granger.

Miranda’s favorite part of book:  When grown-up Nick sees the word frindle in the dictionary.

Todd’s favorite part of book:  What we learn about Mrs. Granger when Nick finally receives her sealed letter….

Miranda’s recommended age groups: 8+

Flashback Friday: How to Eat Like A Child

Todd: When I was a freshman in High School, I was cast in the musical “How to Eat Like a Child,” based on the book by the same title by Delia Ephron. I think the director cast me because I looked about 10 years old at the time, and acted about 11! The play and book are a humorous set of step-by-step instructions for how to do all of things that make children childish. It was a blast to be in the musical, and I later acquired a copy of the book and have held onto it through the years as a memento of my High School experience. I was excited when Miranda told me she found and read this book……until it started to sink in what bad habits she might learn from its contents!! Overall, I don’t have any regrets that she read and enjoyed the book, and hope you and your kids can enjoy it too! (But no…..I’m not lending out the VHS tape of the performance!)

**p.s. In preparation for this review I looked at the Amazon.com site only to discover that the reviews claimed that the book has 4 instances of vulgar language. I don’t personally remember there being questionable language, but this is your fair warning.

Title:How to Eat Like A Child

Author: Delia Ephron
104 pages

My reaction when my dad told me to read this book: This should be called “My reaction when I found this book” because I found it, I never really had it suggested to me. My reaction was nothing short of happiness. I opened it up and I was immediately absorbed within the pages of this book.

Why kids should read this book: This perfectly written book is great for kids and adults alike; however, why I think kids would like this book is because it can help them drive their parents completely crazy!

Miranda’s favorite part: The whole thing. … Okay, okay! That’s against the rules. My favorite part is probably the chapter on how to eat school and/or home-brought lunches.

Miranda’s rating: 9 of 10: It is sooo funny, but can give kids devious ideas on how to be bad!

Thoughts on Thursday: Miranda’s Reading Technique Tips

Today on Thoughts on Thursday, I’m going to be sharing my top ten list of great ways to read a book!

  1. If a character is in a life or death situation, skim through the end of the book to see if the character lives.
  2. Whenever I read, I usually shift into some bizarre yoga pose, or just hang upside-down and let all of the blood rush to my head.
  3. If you’re reading a scary part at night and you’re brave, then keep on reading. If you’re not brave, wait until morning to read.
  4. If it’s late, I try to read as long as possible. You should try this, too! If your eyelids close and you didn’t even notice, then it’s time to give up.
  5. If the book gets boring, read faster. You would be wasting time– time that you could spend reading about action.
  6. If someone says they aren’t going to read a book that you’ve already read, don’t waste your time trying to convince them to read it. Just spoil it! Tell them the ending, who dies, who is in love with who; and if they end up reading it anyway, then at least they don’t have to cry when somebody dies!
  7. If you need to stop reading, and there isn’t a real bookmark next to you, grab the closest object such as a Kleenex, an old band-aid, a napkin, action figures, candy wrappers, junk mail, stuffed animals, or even another book. I use things like that even if there is a bookmark next to me!
  8. If you’re reading one series of books, but you see another great series, don’t wait till you’re finished with the first series. Never do that; just start the other series anyway. I’ve lost count of how many series I’m reading!
  9. If you’re reading a book, then have to stop, then go to number 7 on my list. But if you’re rushed, then just close your book. Look at the page number, remember it, and then search for it next time you read that book.
  10. If you’re just rereading a book, why read it all the way through when you can just skip to the best parts and read those instead? Rereading it thoroughly would just take too long.

Picture Book Pick: No Matter What

We’ve decided to let Mom join our fun by periodically posting.  We also thought some of our readers might appreciate some recommendations for younger children, so, we’re creating the “Picture Book Pick” series of posts, written by Mom (Tanya).

Title: No Matter What
Author: Debi Gliori

Let’s face it—we always love our kids, but we don’t always love the way they act. But how can we convince them of that love when rubber meets the road?

In this beautifully illustrated young children’s book about Small and Large Fox, Small is questioning the boundaries of a parent’s love.  Small presents Large Fox with a series of “What if?”s only to be gently reassured that Large’s love is there… “No Matter What.”

While many young children’s books are colorful, fun and worthwhile, not all have messages that I can get behind 100%. For example (some of you will cringe at my saying this), the ever popular children’s book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch leaves me with an uneasy feeling in my stomach.  Does anyone else see a problem when an aged mother hauls a ladder to her grown son’s window to rock him in her arms?!   The message that “I’ll like you for always…my baby you’ll be” is not only a recipe for many hours of therapy, but sometimes completely false. I don’t always like the way my child behaves, but I WILL always love her—this is a message I can support and it is tenderly portrayed within the pages of this short book.

Cleverly, Gliori avoids hinting to us if Small is a boy or girl and whether or not Large is a mom or dad. With this seemingly small sleight of hand, the book works for young boys and girls. Gliori’s illustrations include little treats on each page for the older reader or audience member: a witty piece of wall art showing the cuts of meat on a sheep and a pair of rabbit salt and pepper shakers are two of my favorites. With a mere thirty-two pages, No Matter What is short enough for young children with small attention spans and stories at bedtime while being just long enough to teach a great lesson.

Review: Dealing with Dragons

First, we need to apologize for not posting yet this week….our week has been filled with long rehearsals in preparation for tonight’s dance recital. So, here we go!

Title:  Dealing with Dragons
Author:  Patricia C. Wrede
212 pages

Synopsis: Tired of traditional castle life, Princess Cimorene, a princess who will not be proper, runs away. She meets a dragon named Kazul and becomes her “Princess.” Soon, Cimorene will be dealing with a cheating dragon, a stone prince, and some very obnoxious wizards! If Cimorene ran away to find adventure, it looks like she’s found lots of it!

Why kids would like this book: This book is exciting and is very funny. It has a little bit of romance (in the other books, too), loads of action, and has many amazing and quirky characters that you’ll love.

Why adults would like this book: It is a fun twist on fairy tale life through the eyes of someone who wants nothing to do with it.  I also enjoyed the author’s skill with blending the standard fairy tale writing style with the unexpected, such as “There was a great deal of etiquette, from the proper way to curtsey before a visiting prince to how loudly it was permissable to scream when being carried off by a giant.”

Miranda’s rating: 10 of 10. I cannot think of even one reason not to like this book!

Todd’s rating: 7 of 10.  I found the middle of the book to lose momentum a little bit for my taste, but found it enjoyable overall.

Miranda’s favorite character: My favorite character is Kazul because she’s nice and always takes Cimorene’s side in  things.

Todd’s favorite character:  Cimorene for her no-nonsense, non-traditional approach to solving problems in a fairy tale kingdom.

Miranda’s favorite part of book: Probably when Cimorene first gets started on her duties as a dragon’s princess.

Todd’s favorite part of book:  How Cimorene deals with the various princes who try to rescue her despite her not wanting to be rescued.

Miranda’s recommended age groups: 8+ because it isn’t that big of a book and I’m sure kids this age and up will love this book and the funny parts within.