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Rules Hardcover – April 1, 2006
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From School Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
Now where to begin? I suppose if you asked Catherine herself she'd begin with David. Everyone else seems to after all. David's eight and autistic. I'm sure you've heard stories of autistic children and the difficulties they have dealing with the world around them, but has anyone ever stopped to consider the problems their older sisters face? Sisters like Catherine who'd do anything to have a "normal" life with a "normal" little brother. Not that Catherine isn't a good sister to David. She's constantly creating rules for him that will, ideally, help him deal with the real world. Now a new girl has moved in next door to Catherine and her family. She would love to make Kristi a friend, but there's always the threat that this new girl would be overly freaked out by David. And then there's Jason, the wheelchair bound boy she knows from Jason's occupational therapy visits.Read more ›
Catherine, 12 has a younger brother who has autism. David, 8 has difficulty expressing himself verbally; he does not understand the Tacit Social Codes & Rules. Catherine teaches him basic things such as chewing with his mouth closed; not putting toys in the fish tank and not running off when something unrelated catches his attention. Catherine keeps a notebook full of rules to help her brother. She helps David express himself and "find his own voice," in a manner of speaking.
Two other people influence Catherine. One is Kristi, a popular seemingly has it all together girl and a boy who is paraplegic. The boy attends the same occupational therapy clinic as David. In some very poignantly introspective moments, Catherine discovers that the boy is a true friend. She and he share some funny moments when she writes communication cards for his communication book; nonverbal, the boy depends on a book and pad to communicate. He and Catherine care about each other; they share values and similar experiences. The bond between the two is heartwarming and extends to David.
Kristi in turn also proves to be a friend.
Please read this book. Please read it and share it with somebody. You will be very glad that you did.
Our protagonist,Catherine, is a sweet, somewhat shy girl who loves to draw. She alternates between acting as her autistic brother's protector and being embarrassed by his behavior. David is four years younger than Catherine and obsessive about Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad. A particularly poignant touch is the way that Catherine and David communicate with eachother by reciting lines from these classic friendship stories. My son often used lines from computer games to communicate when he was younger, as he couldn't understand that others did not have the same frame of reference. This sort of attention to detail is what allows Lord to tell her story so realistically.
The characters are all richly painted and believeable. I'd like to call Catherine's mom and invite her over for tea. I'd tell her that it's ok to bring David; I don't mind if he pokes in my closets. :)
This is a story about embracing differences and accepting people as they are. I highly recommend it for both boys and girls aged ten to adult.
To help David avoid embarrassing situations, she keeps a running list of rules-things like: "Chew with your mouth closed" and "If the bathroom door is closed, knock (especially if Catherine has a friend over)!"
Catherine goes with her mom to David's occupational therapy sessions. In the waiting area, she meets Jason, a boy who uses a wheelchair and communicates by touching cards in his word book.
When Catherine is torn between Jason and the new girl next door, she is forced to evaluate what friendship means.
RULES is a touching story about families, friendship and fitting in. Catherine, Jason and David are just like real kids next door-the kind of kids you fall in love with and want to shelter from the harsh world.
I read RULES in one sitting on the day it arrived; I couldn't put it down. I felt the tension and the love-and I wanted to stay in Catherine's world for just a bit longer. I carried the characters around in my head and my heart for several days...and, I'm not sure they'll really ever leave me.
Cynthia Lord's debut novel is a must-read! I highly-recommend this magical novel that will change the way many people view the world.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants to fit in...but that's really hard with a younger brother who has autism. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Joanna M
This was my daughter's summer reading assignment and she LOVED the book! Actually finished it early!Published 5 days ago by Jeanne W. Derr
This was assigned for summer reading for my 4th grader. Good book but it was somewhat hard for her to follow. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sandcastles75
This was a sweet book that I enjoyed very much. As a reader, I felt sympathy for all characters.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed the development of Catherine. She was someone my students could identify with and understand. The world can be crazy...we can all use some rules.Published 1 month ago
I read this book as part of a summer reading list for school. It gives a nice perspective of a young girl (perhaps 11 or 12 years old) living with a sibling who has autism. Read morePublished 2 months ago by DeAnn Allen