Rules by Cynthia LordTitle: Rules
Author: Cynthia Lord
ISBN: 0439443822
Pages: 200 pages
Publisher/Date: Scholastic Press, c2006.

From the practical “No toys in the fish tank” to the intuitional “Late doesn’t mean not coming” to the specific “Keep your pants on! Unless Mom, Dad, or the doctor tells you to take them off,” twelve year old Catherine’s life is full of rules. It has to be, in order to have some order to her life with her eight year old autistic brother David. David finds the only way to express himself is by quoting portions of the book Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel. When a new girl Kristi moves into the house next store, Catherine sees this as an opportunity to have what she’s always wished for. Her growing friendship with a wheelchair bound Jason however has her questioning how she feels about disabilities and what constitutes a normal life.

This book I read in one sitting, cover to cover. Her rules ring true to anyone who has ever had to supervise little annoying siblings. The words she uses to convey her feelings range from the predictable “Awesome!” to the more creative “Stinks a big one!!!” The friendship dynamics range as well, and mimic the real feelings of finding and keeping friends. The portrayal of Jason is also really well done. If readers like this book, they could move on to Jordan Sonnenblick’s Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, which details a 14 year old boy whose younger brother is fighting leukemia.

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