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Rules of Summer
by Shaun Tan


Overview - Never be late for a parade.
Never forget the password.
Never ruin a perfect plan.
It's all about the rules. But what if the rules feel completely arbitrary? What if your older brother is the only one who gets to make them up all summer long?
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More About Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan
 
 
 
Overview
Never be late for a parade.
Never forget the password.
Never ruin a perfect plan.
It's all about the rules. But what if the rules feel completely arbitrary? What if your older brother is the only one who gets to make them up all summer long? And what if he's the only one who can save you when the darkness of winter comes rushing in?
As usual, master artist and storyteller Shaun Tan shows us the strange truth of ordinary things -- rules, relationships, despair, and hope -- as only he can.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780545639125
  • ISBN-10: 0545639123
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
  • Publish Date: April 2014
  • Page Count: 48
  • Reading Level: Ages 8-12


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Family - Siblings
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Action & Adventure - General
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Social Themes - Friendship

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-02-17
  • Reviewer: Staff

In a book that reads like an homage to The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, Lindgren award-winner Tan (The Arrival) offers a sequence of paintings that represent a boy’s cumulative summer knowledge, framed as rules and populated by Tan’s now-familiar menagerie of one-eyed robots, malevolent rabbits, and windup dinosaurs. The rules appear on the left, while lavish, brilliant paintings of the accompanying disasters light up the opposite pages. An older boy yanks his younger brother away from a platter at a soiree full of glaring raptors (“Never eat the last olive at a party”); frowns when bats, lizards, and sea anemones move into the living room (“Never leave the back door open overnight”); and, after a fistfight, bundles the younger boy into a locomotive and sends him off through Siberian wastes (“Never lose a fight”). At last, the older brother relents and rescues the younger boy (“Always know the way home”); they arrive in a lush, Wayne Thiebaud–style paradise of gigantic fruits and puddings through which they parade with drum and horn. As always, the swirl of emotion that Tan’s artwork kicks up lingers long after the book is closed. All ages. (May)

 
BookPage Reviews

Imagination's lessons

BookPage Children's Top Pick, May 2014

I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that Shaun Tan’s books are breathtaking—just consider his wordless graphic novel, The Arrival. But the effect is even more astounding when he puts words and images together, as he’s done in Rules of Summer. There is an underlying beauty to his work that transcends our everyday lives. His design sense is striking, and he pushes the boundaries of picture books in delightful ways.

Rules of Summer 1

As the title of his latest offering indicates, readers are given a series of rules, as a young boy looks back on the previous summer to share what he’s learned. But don’t expect rules that in any way embrace mundane realism. Tan always takes us on fantastical journeys, and this one is filled with mystery, fear, wonder and magic—all with the boy’s older brother by his side. “Never eat the last olive at a party,” we read with an illustration showing oversize, sharp-beaked creatures in suits, glaring at the boy who is reaching for the last olive on a dinner party plate. Stepping on a snail could immediately call forth a vicious tornado, and leaving the back door open can invite sea-like alien creatures that might overtake your den.

Rules of Summer 2

But it’s not all menace. There are parades with wildly imaginative creatures; a baseball-esque game with robots (just don’t argue with the umpire); and a luminous world towering over short concrete walls attempting to contain it (don’t forget the password, since big brother will ask for it). And Tan wraps it all up with a series of spreads connected by an emotionally poignant thread about brotherhood.

The rich, lush paintings are for poring over, as there is much to be found in Tan’s details. They tell cryptic tales that leave ample room for the child reader to wonder and reflect. The very title is deliciously fun, given that Tan is always up for subverting the standard storytelling rules of picture books.

Compelling and evocative, Rules of Summer is a great choice for both diehard Tan fans and those coming to his inventive books for the first time.

 

Illustration © 2014 by Shaun Tan. Reprinted by permission of Scholastic.

Julie Danielson features authors and illustrators at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a children’s literature blog.

This article was originally published in the May 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews