Rules
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Rules

4.3 183
by Cynthia Lord
     
 

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Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. Shes spent years trying to teach David the rules from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public"—-in order to head off Davids embarrassing behaviors. But the summer

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Overview

Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. Shes spent years trying to teach David the rules from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public"—-in order to head off Davids embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend shes always wished for, its her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Danielle Travis
A typical preteen, Catherine likes hanging out with her best friend, Melissa, enjoys swimming at the pond, and she gets annoyed with her little brother, David. David, however, is not a typical younger brother: he has autism. In an effort to help David interact with the world around him, Catherine has made him a list of rules—things like “No toys in the fish tank” and “Always flush!” Eventually, Catherine gets weary of always looking out for her brother and wishes that he was normal. Accompanying David to an occupational therapy appointment one day, Catherine makes an unlikely friend, Jason, who is in a wheelchair. However, Catherine is hesitant to begin a friendship that would only promote more staring, just like when she is with her brother. Jason and Catherine’s friendship forces Catherine to face her own and other peoples’ misconceptions of people with disabilities. In the end, she must choose between looking the other way or standing up for her friend and brother. This book is a great read for any pre-teen. Lord gives the reader an inside look into the realities of someone who has a loved one with a disability. A book like this shows that it’s more important to speak up rather than just lay low to be “cool.” This novel will help any preteen coping with their own or a loved one’s disability through teaching that it does not matter what’s on the outside, but what’s inside that truly counts. Reviewer: Danielle Travis; Ages 8 to 12.
Publishers Weekly
The appealing, credible narrator at the heart of Lord's debut novel will draw in readers, as she struggles to find order and balance in her life. Her parents place 12-year-old Catherine in charge of her younger autistic brother more often than she would like. Taking solace in art, the girl fills the back of her sketchbook with rules she has established for David, "so if my someday-he'll-wake-up-a-regular-brother wish doesn't ever come true, at least he'll know how the world works, and I won't have to keep explaining things." Sorely missing her best friend, who is away for the summer, and realizing that the girl who has just moved in next door is not a kindred spirit, Catherine devises some of her own self-protective rules ("When you want to get out of answering something, distract the questioner with another question"). In the able hands of the author, mother of an autistic child, Catherine's emotions come across as entirely convincing, especially her alternating devotion to and resentment of David, and her guilt at her impatience with him. Through her artwork, the heroine gradually opens up to Jason, a wheelchair-bound peer who can communicate only by pointing to words on cards. As she creates new cards that expand Jason's ability to express his feelings, their growing friendship enables Catherine to do the same. A rewarding story that may well inspire readers to think about others' points of view. Ages 9-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Growing up with an autistic younger brother is not easy and it seems far harder when the pre-teen years hit. Catherine feels as though David's needs far overshadow her own in the family but the embarrassment his behavior causes her is the worst of it. Nevertheless, Catherine understands what David's world is like and when she snaps at him, she is beset by guilt. It is this sensitivity that allows her to befriend a boy her age with severe communication problems who is wheelchair-bound. Gaining a stronger sense of herself and demanding what she needs as a member of the family allows her to move beyond embarrassment into acceptance. This is a story that depicts the impact of a needy child on an entire family very realistically. One of the treats in this book is that David echoes words rather than generating his own and he frequently speaks in lines he remembers from Arnold Lobel's Frog & Toad. 2006, Scholastic, Ages 9 to 12.
—Joan Kindig, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Twelve-year-old Catherine has conflicting feelings about her younger brother, David, who is autistic. While she loves him, she is also embarrassed by his behavior and feels neglected by their parents. In an effort to keep life on an even keel, Catherine creates rules for him ("It's okay to hug Mom but not the clerk at the video store"). Each chapter title is also a rule, and lots more are interspersed throughout the book. When Kristi moves in next door, Catherine hopes that the girl will become a friend, but is anxious about her reaction to David. Then Catherine meets and befriends Jason, a nonverbal paraplegic who uses a book of pictures to communicate, she begins to understand that normal is difficult, and perhaps unnecessary, to define. Rules of behavior are less important than acceptance of others. Catherine is an endearing narrator who tells her story with both humor and heartbreak. Her love for her brother is as real as are her frustrations with him. Lord has candidly captured the delicate dynamics in a family that revolves around a child's disability. Set in coastal Maine, this sensitive story is about being different, feeling different, and finding acceptance. A lovely, warm read, and a great discussion starter.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
When 12-year-old Catherine is embarrassed by her autistic younger brother's behavior, her mother reassures her that "real friends understand." But Catherine is not convinced, and she is desperate to make a friend of the new girl next door. She doesn't like it when others laugh at David or ignore him; she writes down the rules so he will know what to do. Catherine is also uncomfortable about her growing friendship with 14-year-old Jason, a paraplegic. Jason uses a book of word cards to communicate, and Catherine enjoys making him new cards with more expressive words. Still, when he suggests that they go to a community-center dance, she refuses at first. Only when Jason sees through her excuse does she realize that her embarrassment is for herself. Catherine is an appealing and believable character, acutely self-conscious and torn between her love for her brother and her resentment of his special needs. Middle-grade readers will recognize her longing for acceptance and be intrigued by this exploration of dealing with differences. (Fiction. 9-12)
From the Publisher

Booklist 2/15/06
Gr. 4–7. “No toys in the fish tank” is one of many rules that 12-year-old Catherine shares with her autistic younger brother, David, to help him understand his world. Lots of the rules are practical. Others are more subtle and shed light on issues in Catherine's own life. Torn between love for her brother and impatience with the responsibilities and embarrassment he brings, she strives to be on her parents' radar and to establish an identity of her own. At her brother's clinic, Catherine befriends a wheelchair-bound boy, Jason, who talks by pointing at word cards in a communication notebook. Her drawing skills and additional vocabulary cards––including “whatever” (which prompts Jason to roll his eyes at his mother)––enliven his speech. The details of autistic behavior are handled well, as are depictions of relationships: Catherine experiences some of the same unease with Jason that others do in the presence of her brother. In the end, Jason helps Catherine see that her rules may really be excuses, opening the way for her to look at things differently. A heartwarming first novel. –Cindy Dobrez

Kirkus
When 12-year-old Catherine is embarrassed by her autistic younger brother's behavior, her mother reassures her that "real friends understand." But Catherine is not convinced, and she is desperate to make a friend of the new girl next door. She doesn't like it when others laugh at David or ignore him; she writes down the rules so he will know what to do. Catherine is also uncomfortable about her growing friendship with 14-year-old Jason, a paraplegic. Jason uses a book of word cards to communicate, and Catherine enjoys making him new cards with more expressive words. Still, when he suggests that they go to a community-center dance, she refuses at first. Only when Jason sees through her excuse does she realize that her embarrassment is for herself. Catherine is an appealing and believable character, acutely self-conscious and torn between her love for her brother and her resentment of his special needs. Middle-grade readers will recognize her longing for acceptance and be intrigued by this exploration of dealing with differences. (Fiction. 9
SLJ
Gr 4-7–Twelve-year-old Catherine has conflicting feelings about her younger brother, David, who is autistic. While she loves him, she is also embarrassed by his behavior and feels neglected by their parents. In an effort to keep life on an even keel, Catherine creates rules for him (“It's okay to hug Mom but not the clerk at the video store”). Each chapter title is also a rule, and lots more are interspersed throughout the book. When Kristi moves in next door, Catherine hopes that the girl will become a friend, but is anxious about her reaction to David. Then Catherine meets and befriends Jason, a nonverbal paraplegic who uses a book of pictures to communicate, she begins to understand that normal is difficult, and perhaps unnecessary, to define. Rules of behavior are less important than acceptance of others. Catherine is an endearing narrator who tells her story with both humor and heartbreak. Her love for her brother is as real as are her frustrations with him. Lord has candidly captured the delicate dynamics in a family that revolves around a child's disability. Set in coastal Maine, this sensitive story is about being different, feeling different, and finding acceptance. A lovely, warm read, and a great discussion starter.–Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME

PW
The appealing, credible narrator at the heart of Lord's debut novel will draw in readers, as she struggles to find order and balance in her life. Her parents place 12-year-old Catherine in charge of her younger autistic brother more often than she would like. Taking solace in art, the girl fills the back of her sketchbook with rules she has established for David, "so if my someday-he'll-wake-up-a-

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439443838
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
09/01/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
39,543
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author


Cynthia Lord is the award-winning author of RULES, a Newbery Honor book (among its many distinctions), as well as the critically acclaimed TOUCH BLUE, released August, 2010. She made her picture book debut with HOT ROD HAMSTER. She lives in Maine with her family. Visit her at cynthialord.com.

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Rules 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 183 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
You can always tell when you're reading a book that has a basis in truth. With RULES, author Cynthia Lord writes about what it's like to live with autism, and she should know, since she has an autistic child.

That ring of truth is there, in every word, when you read the story of twelve-year old Catherine and her autistic younger brother, David.David hates loud noises. If there's a cloud in the sky, he has to take his red umbrella with him. If his dad says he'll be home at five o'clock, David starts going crazy at five-oh-one. He likes to rewind his movie of Thomas the Tank Engine to his favorite part, over and over and over again. His favorite place to visit is the video store, where he'll even lay on the floor to read the back of the movie box a stranger is holding in his hand. And he knows all the words to Arnold Lobel's FROG AND TOAD.

For Catherine, though, it's a much different story. She hates the way people stare at her brother, or even worse, refuse to look at him at all. She's jealous of the time David gets to spend, one-on-one, with their pharmacist father. She hates David's rules, the strict adherence to which he is obsessed with them, and yet she makes new rules for him every time she thinks of something else he needs to know.

Catherine copes by drawing, and one day she decides to draw the boy in the wheelchair who is in the waiting room with her at Occupational Therapy. David goes there once a week to work with a therapist, and so does the boy who doesn't speak but instead uses a book of word cards to communicate. When Catherine offers to make Jason, the boy in the wheelchair, some new cards with pictures, an unlikely friendship is born. Catherine is also excited about Kristi, her new next-door neighbor, but soon finds out that friendship is a complicated matter.

How do you protect a brother that often annoys you? How can you be friends with the beautiful girl next door and yet be ashamed to admit your friend Jason doesn't talk and is in a wheelchair? How do you make your father understand that you matter, too? How do you tell your mother that even though David needs his own words, Frog and Toad is a special communication between a brother and sister that love each other? RULES isn't just a book about autism, but rather a look into the complexities of a family relationship. An excellent read for anyone who has ever had to deal with someone who is just a little bit different than everyone else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book out there. It will make you laugh, cry, and think about what is really important in life. Read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! Thibook gave such a great message! Especially for 9-13 year olds. I have never read a book and had such a great comprehension so easily. Deffinatly read this book!
tplayer2008 More than 1 year ago
This book is about a girl named Catherine. Her brother, David, is autistic and she doesn't like that he gets special treatment. Catherine feels her life isn't ever normal with David always ruining everything somehow so Catherine makes rules for him. Over the summer a girl named Kristi moves in next door to Catherine. They become friends but Catherine stops telling Kristi the full truth about a boy named Jason at the clinic her brother goes to. Jason is in a wheelchair and can't talk so he points to word cards to communicate. Catherine works hard making more word cards for Jason and starts to get feelings for him. When Kristi asks Catherine to the dance the community center is holding and tells her she should bring Jason, Catherine comes up with many excuses why she can't go. In the end she ends up going hoping Jason will show up after they had some issues at his birthday party. I thought this book was really good and had a great theme. This is a great book to read and it is pretty short. You should really check it out!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My daughter looked at this book in the store (she is almost 10 years old) and turned her nose up but I put it in the basket because I liked the subject matter and because I wanted to read it myself! We wound up starting it together and then she read it on her own. She is now writing a report for school about it. She also recommended it to her friend and they are discussing the book as her friend reads which is a first. Very exciting to see my daughter so enraptured!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have an autistic cousin and was able to make some interesting connections
Agirl2000 More than 1 year ago
RULES is a great book that, teaches us lessons, lets us see others perspectives, and introduces us to characters just like our selfs! If you're looking for a fun and easy read, you should read RULES!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a 9 year old girl and this book was great!!! It was Interesting, sad, and happy at the same time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book at least 3 times. So great!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a awesome book! It sounds sad,i know but it is not that sad. Sometimes you feel a little bad for catherine, but thats it. I read the whole book aready in school. The book was so interesting and full of suspence i read it durning class! You should totaly read this book! It is one of my favorite books ever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to all readers who enjoy books that contain characters who have disorders or issues.  However, if you cy easily at sad parts of books, then you might want to be ery careful while reading this book because while it is a GREAT book, it does also have some very sad parts to it.  I hope that everyone that reads this book loves it as much as I did!!!!!!  :D     :D
debsull More than 1 year ago
Rules is an interesting book about a 12 year old girl named Catherine and her relationship with her autistic brother, David. Catherine feels as if all of her family life revolves around David. All Catherine has ever wanted is to be normal and have everyone treat David normally. It bothers Catherine when she sees people starring at David, or even worse, completely ignoring him. Everything changes when a girl named Kristi moves in next-door and when Catherine meets a mute boy named Jason with a communication book and a wheelchair. Find out how things change for Catherine over the summer because of her friendships with Kristi and Jason. Rules has many positives. The first is that every chapter begins with a different rule and then describes a situation to which that rule applies. Second, the book shows that people with special needs are just the same as everyone else. Third, the characters of Catherine, David, and Jason were really likeable and inspirational. The book did have some negatives though. The ending was not that satisfying. It didn't seem like the book had ended and I was craving more to the story. Also, the character of Kristi was not a favorite of mine because Catherine was hoping for a neighbor that might be her best friend, but that's not who Kristi turned out to be. Overall, Rules had many more positives than negatives for me and it was one of the best books I have read in a long time. I really liked the writing style of the author because it was simple and easy to comprehend. Cynthia Lord used the first person point of view and told the story from Catherine's perspective. This point of view was helpful in understanding Catherine's feelings and thoughts. I also liked the author's writing style because it was clear and the author did not use a lot of big complicated words. The writing style of the author of Rules made it easy to understand and appreciate everything that was going on in the story. I would definitely recommend this book. One of it's main themes, that people who have special needs are the same as the rest of us, is important, especially for kids our age to recognize. The characters were inspirational, especially Jason who couldn't speak or walk, but was a true friend to Catherine and a strong person who overcame many obstacles. Some other novels I'd recommend are Touch Blue, also written by Cynthia Lord. Touch Blue is about a young girl that tries to save the little harbor in her town from careless boaters that are polluting it. Another book that I would recommend is Powerless by Matthew Cody, which is about an ordinary boy that moves to a new town, meets some new friends that have superpowers and learns that you don't have to have superpowers to be a true hero. I enjoyed reading Rules and would recommend it as an interesting read for older elementary kids to young adults. I look forward to reading Cynthia Lord's next book, Touch Blue.
Anonymous 7 days ago
More than words
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dyy\say fdsssssf
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well i would say this is a pretty good book. Not the best but good i guess. It did teach a great lesson but im in need of a thrll seaking book. A book that makes you never want to stop reading it. I also felt that the end was disapointing. I really with there was a second book of Rules because this left me on a cliff haner. I recomwnt this book the kids becauwe it gives a good leson. This is Bluemonster15 with a book talk, see you on the web!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book (parent) and my daughter definitely liked it a lot. The characters are great and the situations and interactions are so true to life that the book was able to bring up difficult issues involving special needs children without being preachy. It was very relatable and I highly recommend this book. Kids will like it, parents will like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this this book so much .it really helps me think about how other people feel . The author uses descriptive words to create a realistic setting and realistic characters anybody can relate to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good book it is that u people hav no sence in yall bummies
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in my 6th grad class and everyone loved it but a few people hated it but i think that he have no tatse in books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it very enjoyable
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David is younger if u want 2 chat i will be @ percy jackson res1
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was great.In the beginning all she cared about was her self but in the end she learns that people with disabilites are just like us.Shes learned to have patience for her brother and to see the beauty on the inside of people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a good idea but the book was terrible. The main character was obnoxius and her nieghbor was flat
paperbackjunkie59 More than 1 year ago
Read this book in sixth grade. Though I am a junior now, I do acknowledge the impact it had on my eleven year old life. I remember being able to relate to it and loving the story. I wouldn't read it if you are out of middle school, but that's perhaps a given since it is 8 - 12 and thus that is the age range I will judge it by.  This book tells a great story and really got me into reading, so give it to your children! They will love it!