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Rules (Scholastic Gold) Paperback – Illustrated, September 1, 2008
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"Catherine is an endearing narrator who tells her story with both humor and heartbreak... A lovely, warm read, and a great discussion starter." -- School Library Journal
About the Author
- Lexile measure : 670L
- Grade level : 4 - 7
- Item Weight : 5.6 ounces
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0439443830
- ISBN-13 : 978-0439443838
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.3 inches
- Publisher : Scholastic Paperbacks; Illustrated edition (September 1, 2008)
- Reading level : 9 - 12 years
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #14,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Lord does a fantastic job with introducing the reader into the mind of two boys with disabilities, but also, the perspectives of family members and friends who are very relevant in these kids’ lives. Rules was Cynthia Lord’s first novel, and has won two awards: the 2007 Newberry Honor Book award and the Schneider Family Book Award. She then went on to write three more young adult books. I feel as if this book if very eye opening but also heart warming to any reader. Even though it is meant for ages 8-12, I still found myself, a 20-year-old college student, laughing, crying, and truly connecting to all the characters in this novel. I think everyone should read this to get incite into families with children that have special needs, but also, to, like Catherine, discover how to treat people with disabilities. Without being too simple or too intense of a story, Lord creates characters and a plotline that every age can enjoy and understand.
Following rules and finding our place in the world is central to Cynthia Lord’s Rules , a powerful young adult novel about a fifth grade girl, Catherine, and her autistic brother, David. Along the way they befriend a non-verbal, wheelchair-bound boy named Jason, who, despite his physical limitations, helps set Catherine free of her self-imposed and restrictive “rules.” After all, rules are meant to be broken.
Catherine wishes her brother’s autism would simply disappear, that he’d just wake up “normal” one day. But in case that doesn’t happen, she’s compiling a list of rules so “at least he’ll know how the world works, and I won’t have to keep explaining things.”
Catherine gives voice to the siblings of special needs individuals everywhere when she notes:
“Everyone expects a tiny bit from him and a huge lot from me.”
Later, Catherine talks honestly with her father.
“I have to matter, too. As much as work and your garden, and even as much as David. I need you, too.”
Catherine ponders the nature of her brother’s disability. As the father of a son with autism I found her insights packed an emotional wallop. (Note: Cynthia Lord is the mother of boy with autism.)
“How can his outside look so normal and his inside be so broken? Like an apple, red perfect on the outside, but mushy brown at the first bite.”
Catherine struggles with being both embarrassed by her brother and protective of him in equal measure. She hates when people treat her brother “like he’s invisible. It makes me mad, because it’s mean and it makes me invisible, too.”
Two of Catherine’s most simple rules are the most profound.
There are flaws in all of us—not just those with special needs.
We all try to do the best we can to fit in, but things don’t always end up the way we intend.
There are quite a few laughs here, and a few weepy emotional moments, too. Some of the most profound highlight the differences in Catherine and David’s mental capacities. At one point both kids get a chance to make a wish. Catherine says:
I wish everyone had the same chances. Because it stinks a big one that they don’t. What about you?
David wishes for grape soda.
Cynthia Lord plays it straight in Rules, and doesn’t overdo it on the sentimentality. The result is an engaging read filled with light and love. A couple of Lord’s rules are bound to stick with you after the novel’s close:
Sometimes you’ve gotta work with what you’ve got.
Looking closer can make something beautiful.
Top reviews from other countries
It's summer break and 12-year old Catherine is longing to spend time with her best-friend Melissa. However, because her parents are divorced, Melissa is spending the entire holidays vacationing in California with her dad. Instead, Catherine spends most of her time 'baby-sitting' her younger brother David who suffers with autism. Her dad works full-time to support the family whilst her mother works from home to care for her brother.
Catherine enjoys art as an outlet for the pressures that are exerted upon her, and creates a list of 'rules' for brother David as a reminder of how to behave appropriately and comply with social norms. She often worries about what other people think about David, for example Ryan from school who regularly teases him.
Catherine becomes excited of the prospect of a new neighbour her own age moving in the house opposite, however is embarrassed by David when she attempts to make friends and finds Kristi's loyalties are tied between herself and boy from the local school, Ryan.
Catherine's mother regularly encourages her to sign up for classes at the community centre, as she notices Catherine is quite isolated in being a young carer. Catherine rejects this attempts and finds solace in art, fixation on befriending Kristi and counting down the days until her best friend Melissa returns.
Catherine often has to act beyond her years, her father struggles with time-keeping and she often has to deal with David's resulting meltdowns when the routine he craves is disrupted. She desperately seeks attention from her parents, and twice a week accompanies her mother to David's occupational therapy (OT) appointments in the hope to spend time alone with her. However, her mother is often concerned about David settling in and finds excuses to remain at the office. Here she meets quadriplegic Ryan, who can hear but not speak. She becomes embarrassed when he catches her drawing his portrait, however the two grow closer when she begins to illustrate word cards for his 'communication book'
The two become good friends, and after much persuasion and guilt, she asks Jason to the community dance where she's aware Kristi and Ryan will be. He encourages Catherine to tell her parents how she feels, and she gradually learns to accept David's autism and encourages all characters to become more tolerant and sensitive of our similarities and differences.
I bought it for my daughters birthday and I’m appalled. I’m sure the story is great but the quality by amazon vendor is very bad.