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Rules of Summer

by Shaun Tan

Published by Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic Inc., 2014
48 pages
ISBN: 978𢠧45-639125

Ages 9-14

Shuan Tan抯 imagination always harbors a rich and arresting world of possibilities. Here the wild and the extraordinary is found in paintings accompanying a simple, straightforward narrative in which a young boy states the things he learned last summer. 揘ever leave a red sock on the clothesline. The accompanying illustration shows the boy and his brother huddled against a stark fence in an uninviting urban landscape. The single red sock on the clothesline, small and unassuming in the foreground, has attracted (one assumes) the giant, menacing, red rabbit-like creature that lurks on the other side of the fence. 揘ever argue with an umpire. Especially, one gathers, when the umpire is your big brother, never mind the mechanical creature that is your opponent. There is both tension and whimsy in the relationship between what is stated and what is shown. A brief, wordless series of page spreads in the middle, preceded by 揘ever wait for an apology and followed by 揂lways bring bolt cutters underscores the slightly ominous yet playful feel of the entire volume. Is it all meant to be real? Surreal? Symbolic? The beauty is that it抯 up to each individual reader of the words and images to decide.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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