Monday, September 28, 2009

Woolbur, A Free-Spirited Sheep

Written by Leslie Helakoski
Illustrated by Lee Harper
Recommended Ages: 4-8

I love picture books. I think it's sad that some kids leave picture books behind in their elementary years just because they CAN read a chapter book. As I've pointed out in previous posts, authors like Bill Peet and Tim Egan cover topics that preschoolers will enjoy on one level, and 4th and 5th graders on a totally different one. So I'm always on the lookout for a new picture book that will appeal to both preschoolers and the elementary crowd.

Enter Woolbur, a sheep with his own mind. The story begins when Maa tells Paa that Woolbur decided to run with the dogs, instead of standing still with the sheep. When Maa and Paa express their concern that those dogs will run circles around him. Woolbur replies, "I know, isn't it great!"

Then Woolbur has a little trouble in the shearing barn, when he decides not to be sheared like the other sheep. Once again, Maa and Paa tell him that it's springtime and that his wool is so long. And again Woolbur replies, "I know, isn't it great!"

The story continues with Woolbur doing things his own way when it comes time for the sheep to card their wool, spin it and weave it. In one of his bolder moves, he weaves his forelock in the loom. All the while, loving every minute of it. Finally Maa and Paa sit him down and tell him that he must follow the flock, because it's what sheep do. They tell him he has to shear, card, spin, dye and weave wool like everyone else.

So Woolbur thinks about this all night long, and comes up with a plan.

His solution is to teach all the other sheep to run with the dogs, to let their wool grow, to card their own wool, to spin crazy yarn, to experiment with color and to weave their own forelocks. Soon all of the other sheep are acting just like Woolbur. Although even as the other sheep follow him, he still manages to be one of a kind. Woolbur is a great book for kids who march to their own beat (and for those who tend to stay with the flock).

The illustrations in Woolbur are accessible, funny and sure to draw kids in. These sheep are not just ordinary sheep; they have personalities. Even the ones in the flock, who tend to stay in the background, have lots of detail. Maa and Paa are worrywarts and their expressions are priceless, as they rack their brains on how to deal with Woolbur. But it's Woolbur who is the star, and he has pzazz. He is an original with an optimistic go get 'em attitude. Kids will giggle as you read through all of his antics. There are a lot of little details that you catch on the second or third read. You see that Woolbur has "Go Dog Go," in his room, along with a copy of "Zen Knitting." Woolbur is a wonderful story about being a non-conformist and following your dreams.

BookNosher Tidbit: Woolbur has won the following awards:
  • 2008 Book Sense Hot Pick

  • Great Lakes Book Award finalist

  • Gift of Literacy Oregon Book Choice

Nominated for following state book awards:

  • Vermont

  • North Dakota

  • Nevada

  • Florida (Honor Book)

  • South Carolina

  • North Carolina

BookNosher Activities: After reading Woolbur, kids may be very interested in learning how to knit. There's a really great book called Kids Knitting: Projects for Kids of all Ages. It's illustrated and the projects are arranged in order of difficulty. Color photographs show both boys (!) and girls knitting. In fact, you could give a child a copy of Woolbur, Kids Knitting and some needles and yarn and you've got a great gift.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Trouble With Mark Hopper

The Trouble With Mark Hopper
Written by Elissa Brent Weissman
Recommended Ages: 9-12

The Trouble With Mark Hopper
is about two (very different) boys named Mark Geoffrey Hopper, and the intersection of their lives at the beginning of sixth grade. It's a middle grade novel with all the elements of a good story--mistaken identity, lots of comic twists and turns, great characters (who change and grow), strong tension and some underlying poignant moments.

The story takes place in a town called Greenburgh, where Mark Hopper has lived all of his life. He is the smartest kid entering the sixth grade, and he knows it. In fact, he's developed quite a reputation in the years leading up to middle school, arguing constantly with teachers about his grades (he believes he deserves 100% on everything) and talking incessantly about how smart he is to his peers. Understandably, he is not at all well liked by kids or adults. He lives with his mom and his equally obnoxious older sister Beth. His dad has just moved out.

Enter the new Mark Hopper who has just moved to Greenburgh with his mom, his older sister Beth, and his grandfather (his father has had to stay behind in their old town while he tries to sell their house and get a new job in Greenburgh). This Mark Hopper is pretty much the exact opposite of the other Mark Hopper: He's friendly, easygoing, a fairly average student and a fantastic artist.

The first few chapters are quite funny as they detail the chaos involved with registering the new Mark at his new school, which includes a mix-up with their schedules (honors classes vs. regular classes, band vs. art), and a fairly inept administration and computer system. Weissman does a very nice job developing each of the Mark's personalities. What is remarkable is that she never tells you which Mark she is talking about, it's always just "Mark," and yet you quickly figure out which one it is. It's very tightly written.

While The Trouble With Mark Hopper can best be described as a "school story," along the lines of Andrew Clements' stories, it has some really great moments in each of the boys' homes. In fact, it's through their home situations that you begin to understand why one Mark is so disagreeable and the other so wonderful. Smart Mark's father is really distant and unpleasant, while the other Mark's Grandpa Murray is a warm and memorable character. His relationship with his grandson is a pleasure to observe. In fact, it's the boys' relationships with their families where the story dips a little deeper; making each one a more fully developed three-dimensional character.

However, what makes this a page-turner for kids is what happens at school. The differences between the two Marks become evident right away. Artistic Mark goes about those first few weeks of school making friends, working hard in his classes and showing what a great artist he is. He decides to enter an art contest and paints a loving portrait of his Grandpa Murray, as a surprise for his birthday. The other Mark continues to be obnoxious, humiliating the new Mark in Honors Math by announcing his poor grade to the class. The teacher then assigns him to be Mark's tutor. It is during these tutoring sessions that they begin to get to know one another. Mark lets the other Mark know that he is aiming to win the Mastermind Tournament, something his father won three years in a row when he was in middle school. When he discovers that there is a newly added teamwork portion to the Tournament, he realizes that Mark might be able to help him out because he has done a lot of team building in his other school. Their math tutoring sessions turn into something more mutual. A twist to the story occurs when Smart Mark finds out that there’s an artistic element to the Tournament, and he decides to steal the Grandpa Murray painting and claim it as his.

You begin to see that there are a lot of things going on to hold a reader's interest. I think that 4th, 5th and 6th graders will be riveted as the story unfolds. It's a very good read with characters that kids will recognize from their daily lives. There are a lot of things to discuss, making this a good classroom read. Questions like "what makes a good friend?" or "what kind of role models do each of the boys have at home?" will generate lots of discussion. Weissman has created a story where the characters come alive, so that you genuinely care about them after you've read the last page. I would love to read a book about the Mark Hoppers in seventh grade!

BookNosher Tidbit: Scholastic Magazine recommended The Trouble With Mark Hopper as a best summer pick for new middle schoolers.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bubble Homes and Fish Farts

Bubble Homes and Fish Farts (Junior Library Guild Selection (Charlesbridge Hardcover))

Written by Fiona Bayrock
Illustrated by Carolyn Conahan
Recommended Ages 6-9

It's hard to resist a book with such a catchy title, and this one (while sure to draw snickers at first) provides kids with some fascinating facts about the many ways that animals make use of bubbles. For kids who are nonfiction lovers, Bubble Homes and Fish Farts will provide them with lots of fun information to consider.

In this enjoyable picture book, there are 16 double page spreads showing how and why different animals (fish, mammals and insects) use bubbles. Each section starts off with a simple sentence such as "Bubbles are for Keeping Warm," "Bubbles are for Playing," or "Bubbles are for Living In." Then in very clear and easy-to-understand language, Bayrock goes on to describe how the bubble works for each animal. What's so great about this book is how interesting each tidbit of information is. Here's an example:

"Star-nosed moles also have a good sense of smell, even when underwater. As it swims, a mole blows bubbles from its nose and breathes them back in. A quick sniff of the bubble air tells the mole if lunch is nearby and which way to go to find it. Fish and worms--yummy meals for a star-nosed mole--leave underwater scent trails. These scents in the water mix with the bubble air. Swimming moles sniff to follow scent trails underwater just as dogs do on land."

It's pretty fascinating stuff. The watercolor illustrations have an ethereal feel to them and give each page a "bubble-like" quality. The pictures are fairly realistic, and yet the animals have expressions on their faces which will draw the younger reader in. In addition, each section has little "thought bubbles" showing what the animal might be thinking in a more light-hearted way. All of these touches make Bubble Homes and Fish Farts appealing to elementary-aged kids.

At the end of the book, there are more facts about each of these bubble-makers, as well as a handy glossary. For example: "Flatulence: The scientific name for farting," and "Fry: Baby fish." Quite honestly, I had never given much thought to bubbles before, but I know I will look at the natural world a little bit differently now.

BookNosher Activity: In a previous post I wrote about a picture book for young children called Bubble Trouble, and linked to a website that's devoted to bubbles. I think after reading Bubble Homes and Fish Farts, kids might want more information about bubbles. So here it is again.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Funny Farm Picture Books (Old and New)

Chicken Soup
Written by Jean Van Leeuwen
Illustrated by David Gavril
Recommended Ages 3-6

I came across a new picture book by the mother/son team of Jean Van Leeuwen and David Gavril that will appeal to the preschool crowd. Chicken Soup is a cute story that is sure to please 4 and 5 year olds, especially when read aloud.

The story begins with a rumor flying around the barnyard that Mrs. Farmer has taken out the big pot, and she's going to be making chicken soup! While all the animals are in a dither about the news, the chickens, in particular, need to try and skedaddle out of there. And skedaddle they do, except for Little Chickie, who it appears has a cold in her beak. Chaos ensues while the chickens run away from Mr. Farmer all over the farm, with Little Chickie sniffing and sneezing her way at the rear. Of course, this has a happy ending, and all their worries are for naught. For as it turns out, Mrs. Farmer is making vegetable soup for poor, sick, Little Chickie.

What makes this a fun read aloud is all the sniffing, clomping and sneezing that goes on throughout the book. Young kids will have fun helping the reader with the sound effects. The watercolor illustrations are colorful and lively. Little Chickie, in particular, has a lot of personality and is quite endearing.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
Written by Doreen Cronin
Illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Recommended Ages 3-8

After reading Chicken Soup, I just had to go and find my copy of another farm favorite Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type. If you haven't already read this, then run to the nearest bookstore or library and find it. If you have, well you might want to revisit it.

The story begins when Farmer Brown's cows discover a typewriter, and begin to use it to broadcast their needs:

"Dear Farmer Brown,
The barn is very cold at night. We'd like some electric blankets.
The Cows"

A strike begins as the farmer refuses to give in to the cows' demands, and the sound of click, clack, moo haunts him at every turn. It's a hilarious premise, made even funnier when a duck is brought in to mediate. The duck helps the farmer and the cows come to an agreement by exchanging the typewriter for the blankets, only to have a surprise twist at the end. The duck goes missing with the typewriter, and Farmer Brown gets a note demanding a diving board for the pond! This is one of those books that just seem to get better each time you read it. Be prepared to have to explain to your child what a typewriter is.

If you are looking for some other "farm animal" books, try these:
Chickens to the Rescue by John Himmelman
Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotten
Dumpy La Rue by Elizabeth Winthrop

BookNosher Tidbits: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type won a Caldecott medal in 2000. It was also recently made into a musical, and played off-Broadway this past summer. Here's a link to a review.

BookNosher Activities: You can have some great discussions with kids about how animals communicate their needs to the people around them (whining, barking, meowing, scratching at the door). Afterwards, have them write letters from a pet to an owner. Or if they are too young to write, have them dictate a letter to you. Kids enjoy hearing their words read back to them, and love to handle the finished result.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

If the World Were a Village...

If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World's People
Written by David Smith
Illustrated by
Shelagh Armstrong
Recommended Ages: Ages 8-12 (although I think that middle schoolers and high schoolers will find it compelling too.)

I remember being fascinated by If The World Were a Village when it first came out in 2002, and I recently came across it again. I love the idea of shrinking the world's population down to a village of 100, so that each person represents 62 million people from the real world. It makes the large numbers of our earth's population (over 6 billion people) much easier to understand for kids and adults alike.

Here's a sample of some of the interesting facts presented. If you have 100 people in the global village:

"61 are from Asia
13 are from Africa
12 are from Europe
8 are from South America, Central America (including Mexico) and the Caribbean
5 are from Canada and the United States
1 is from Oceania (an area that includes Australia, New Zealand and the islands of the south, west and central Pacific"

Pretty amazing. Or how about these facts on language: There are almost 6000 languages in the world. In the global village, 22 people speak a Chinese dialect, 9 speak English, 8 speak Hindi, 7 speak Spanish, 4 speak Arabic, 4 speak Bengali, 3 speak Portuguese and 3 speak Russian. You can see that this accounts for just 60 of the villagers.

The book goes on to talk about religion, money, clean air and water, literacy and education. There are just so many things to ponder. One particular paragraph stuck with me:

"There is no shortage of food in the global village. If all the food were divided equally, everyone would have enough to eat. But the food isn't divided equally. So although there is enough to feed the villagers, not everyone is well fed...Only 24 people always have enough to eat."

Yes, these are sobering statistics, but important ones for children in modern cultures to grasp. It's so easy for kids in first world countries to not understand the socioeconomic advantages they have. If The World Were a Village gives a clear-cut presentation of some of the basic realities of our multifaceted and complex world. Take electricity. In the village of 100, 76 people have electricity, 24 do not. And for those that have electricity,
42 have radios
24 have televisions
14 have telephones
7 have computers

The computer statistic alone is sure to make one pause and think.

If the World Were a Village is beautifully illustrated, with bold acrylics outlined in thick, black lines. Every page draws your eyes in, as you read the amazing facts that accompany it. This is a book to be savored and discussed, either in a family or classroom setting. There's a lengthy author's endnote that offers lots of ideas for using the book.

BookNosher Tidbit: If America Were a Village: A Book about the People of the United States was published in August of this year. I have not yet seen a copy, but can't wait to buy it and see how Smith has presented facts about the U.S. I promise to report back in once I've read it.

BookNosher Activity: I think it would be worthwhile to look at this book in conjunction with Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel. While Material World is not a children's book per se, children are fascinated by it. It's a photojournalistic depiction of 30 "statistically average" families in 30 countries. Each family is photographed with all of their possessions in front of their house. They are also interviewed and they talk about their favorite possessions, as well as their hopes for the future. It's fascinating. It has sat on the coffee table in our living room for years and is easily the most looked at book in our house.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reading Around the World

Now that school has started, I imagine many of you are looking for ways to volunteer in your child's classroom. When my kids were younger, my contributions usually were centered around books and reading. Sometimes I was in charge of the book orders for the class, other times I would work in small reading circles, and sometimes I would read aloud to the entire class. All of these were great ways for me to volunteer, as well as introduce some of my favorite children's books.

I want to tell you about one of my all time favorite classroom-reading activities. In two separate kindergarten classes, I came in once a week and read a story from a different country. We called it "Reading Around the World," and it was a hit with the kids and their teachers!

The first thing I did was bring in a huge map of the world, where it was given a special space on the wall for the entire year. Then every week, I would come in with a book from a different country or culture, and read it to the class. We'd spend time looking at where the country was on the map, and its location relative to other landmarks. I always asked the kids if they knew where the country was, and I always had volunteers (even if many times they had no idea!). Before each class, I would make a color copy of the book and shrink it down to about 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches, laminate it and then tape it up on the map with a string pointing to the country it represented. The kids proved to be wonderful helpers with this. By the end of the year it was quite a vision; we had a map filled with books from around the world.

Of course, you can add as much to each lesson as your time and creativity allow. You can bring in food, music, dolls or clothing from each country. Many of the books, especially the old folktales, have author's notes that impart interesting background information about the story, culture or country. The main thing is to show the kids different stories and traditions from around the world.

I just went to our local library and spent some time looking at picture books from other countries. There were lots of books to choose from. Here's a sampling of some books to consider:

Head, Body, Legs by Won Ldy-Pay and Margaret Lippert (Liberia)
Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles (Australia)
The Painted Pig by Elizabeth Cutter Morrow (Mexico)
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (Spain)
The Story about Ping by Marjorie Flack (China)
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel (China)
Strega Nona by Tomie DePaola (Italy)
In Egyptian Times by Kate Davies (Egypt)
I Live in Tokyo by Mari Takabayashi (Japan)
How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina Friedman (Japan)
Hosni The Dreamer by Ehud Ben-Ezer (Arabian folktale)
Jouanah: A Hmong Cinderella adapted by Jewell Reinhart Coburn with Tzexa Cherta Lee (Hmong)
The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo (Egypt)
Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella by Tomie de Paola (Mexico)
No Dinner! The Story of the Old Woman and the Pumpkin by Jessica Souhami (India)
All the Way to Lhasa: A Tale From Tibet by Barbara Helen Berger (Tibet)
The Gifts of Wali Dad Retold by Aaron Shepard (India and Pakistan)
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe (Zimbabwe)
Oh, Kojo! How Could You! by Verna Aardema (an Ashanti Tale)
Listen to the Wind by Greg Mortenson and Susan Roth (Pakistan)
Madeleine by Ludwig Bemelmans (France)
A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond (England)

Note: You can see I came across three different Cinderella stories in my brief perusal at the library.

This is a really fun project both in its research, and its implementation. I honestly felt I learned as much as the kids did, and it widened everyone's horizons a bit. Most of these books are beautifully illustrated and lend themselves well to reading aloud. One other thing. I felt it was important to leave each book in the classroom for a week, so that the kids could look at it on their own, if they wished to.

For some other classroom-reading activities, check out two previous posts. One was on reading Bill Peet books over the course of year, the other was reading My Father's Dragon, with a corresponding art activity. Best wishes to all for a successful 2009-2010 school year!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lucy Cousins: Maisy Books AND a Brand New Fairy Tale Book

The Maisy Books and Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales

The Maisy Books By Lucy Cousins
Recommended Ages: Babies to Preschoolers!

Lucy Cousins is best known for her Maisy picture books. Maisy is a mouse in a world inhabited by ducks, horses, and alligators for friends. These delightful books are geared for the toddler/preschool crowd and cover a range of topics, such as going to preschool, bedtime rituals, grocery shopping and going to the dentist for the first time. They are boldly illustrated in primary colors and outlined in black. Babies, toddlers and preschoolers will identify with Maisy, as she maneuvers her way through life as a small child. A definite recommendation for the 1-4 crowd.

Lucy Cousins has just come out with a new book of Fairy Tales, which is worth checking out. It has a completely different feel to it than the Maisy books, but equally compelling.

Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales
Written and Illustrated by Lucy Cousins
Recommended Ages: 4-8

In Yummy, you will find eight well-known fairy tales, told in a no-nonsense, straightforward manner. By that, I mean these are not the sugarcoated versions we've been used to hearing. In Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf eats the grandma (her legs sticking out of his open jaws is quite a vision) and Little Red Riding Hood, only to meet his end when the hunter comes by and chops his head off (the head is shown flying in the air). But LRRH and Grandma do jump out and "live happily ever after."

Perhaps you remember the story of The Little Red Hen, where the hen asks her friends (the dog, goose and cat) to help her plant some wheat. They claim to be too busy. She then asks them to help her cut the wheat, and once again they are "too busy." And so on and so on, until she has finally baked the bread and asks, "who will help me eat the bread?" They all shout out "I will." And the Little Red Hen says "no you won't." and eats it all by herself. While some more whitewashed versions of late have her sharing the bread, I think this version is actually the fairer one. They didn't help her do all the work, so why should she share the fruits of her labor?

The other stories in the collection include: The Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Enormous Turnip, Henny Penny, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs and the Musicians of Bremen.

Cousins' illustrations are bold and eye catching. They also help lessen the impact of the stories a bit. The expressions on the animals' and peoples' faces (complete with rosy cheeks) can't help but add a bit of hilarity to each situation. Somehow, Cousins pulls off an unflinching look at these fairy tales, without scaring the pants off of kids. Take a look at this big, vibrant book.

BookNosher Tidbit: Much has been written about the importance of fairy tales in children's development. A fellow blogger wrote a post a while ago, which I think sums it up very nicely. Here's the link.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Get Out Your Frindles!

Frindle by Andrew Clements; pictures by Brian Selznick
Recommended Ages: 8-12

Okay, here's a confession. My copy of Frindle is pretty dog-eared, and yet until two days ago I had never read it. Over the years, all three of my kids read this book and loved it. I am pretty sure I probably recommended it to people, based on their reactions to the book. But I had never actually read what I now consider to be a classic children's book. Boy was I missing out on something.

Frindle is a wonderful book for elementary-aged kids. It's smart, funny, and creative. The first two paragraphs will draw even the most reluctant of readers in:

If you asked the kids and the teachers at Lincoln Elementary School to make three lists-all the really bad kids, all the really smart kids, and all the really good kids-Nick Allen would not be on any of them. Nick deserved a list all his own, and everyone knew it.
Was Nick a troublemaker? Hard to say. One thing's for sure: Nick Allen had plenty of ideas and he knew what to do with them.

Briefly speaking, Frindle is the story of fifth grader Nick who meets his match in language arts teacher Mrs. Granger. All through elementary school, kids know that no-nonsense Mrs. Granger awaits them at the end of the line. Known for her tough weekly 35-word vocabulary tests and her love of dictionaries (she keeps a set of them at the back of the classroom, and tells the kids to use them often), it was the class that every fifth-grader dreaded. Nick was no exception. At the beginning of the school year, when Mrs. Granger teaches a lesson about dictionaries, she explains the origin of words and how words are created.

Nick asks her:

I still don't get the idea of why words all mean different things," says Nick the following day in class after giving his report. "Like, who says that d-o-g means the thing that goes `woof' and wags its tail. Who says so?"

Mrs. Granger answers him:

Who says `dog' means dog? You do, Nicholas. You and I and everyone in this class and this school and this town and this state and this country. We all agree. If we lived in France, we would all agree that the right word for that hairy four-legged creature was a different word - chien - it sounds like `shee-en,' but it means what d-o-g means to you and me. And in Germany they say `hund,' and so on, all around the globe. But if all of us in this room decided to call that creature something else, and if everyone else did, too, then that's what it would be called, and one day it would be written in the dictionary that way. We decide what goes in that book.

From that exchange, Nick comes up with the idea to substitute the word "frindle" for pen. And the story grows from there. First the kids in school start using the word "frindle",then the townspeople get caught up in the "frindle phenomenon," and ultimately it catches on (with a little publicity boost) at a national level. In fact, "frindle" seems to catch on with just about everyone, with the exception of Mrs. Granger.

The conflict/relationship between Nick and Mrs. Granger is at the heart of the story, and their characters are well developed. There is a depth to both of them that emerges as the story unfolds. I'm not going to give the ending away, but it is surprising and quite heart-warming for all involved.

BookNosher Tidbits: Here's a list of the awards that Frindle has won to date:
1997 Christopher Award
Rhode Island Children's Book Award 1998
Judy Lopez Memorial Honor Book (L.A.)Award 97
Great Stone Face Book Award (NH)1997-1998
Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Award (IL)1999
Massachusetts Children's Book Award 1998-1999
William Allen White Children's Book Award (KS)1998-1999
Georgia Children's Book Award, 1998-1999
1998-99 Maud Hart Lovelace Award, MN Youth Rdg. Award
Sasquatch Children's Book Award (WA) 1999
1999 South Dakota Prairie Pasque Award
Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award, (AR)1998-99
Premio Cassa di Risparmio di Cento di Letteratura per Ragazzi, 1998, Cento, Italy
1998-99 Nevada Young Readers'Award
1998-99 North Carolina Children's Choice Award
Pacific NW Lib.Assn.- Young Reader's Choice 1999 (WA,OR,MT,AK,ID,AB,BC)
1999 Texas Children's Crown Award
Young Hoosier Book Award (IN) 1998-99
1998-99 Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award, 4-6
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award 1999-2000
Utah Children's Choice Award, 2000

BookNosher Activities: The first activity that comes to mind is The Dictionary Game. You know, the game where one person pulls a fairly obscure word out of the dictionary and tells it to everyone. Then everyone makes up their definition of the word and writes it on a piece of paper. The person who originally found the word then reads aloud everyone's definition (including the correct one), and people vote on the definition they think is correct. What a great way for kids to learn new vocabulary AND be creative!
There are a lot of sites devoted to Frindle. Here's one that has "activities relating to the book "Frindle." There are biographies and interviews with author Andrew Clements. Other topics include the history of the pen, writing instruments, the dictionary, and the dictionary editorial process. Try the interactive word games, the online dictionary, and language tools."