The Trouble with Rules

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The Trouble With Rules

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Norah Piehl
Bulion effectively captures middle-grade gender and interpersonal relations in this realistic and winning novel. Set in the fourth grade, when pre-teen crushes have not yet started but early elementary cross-gender friendships are no longer kosher, the novel probes the meaning of "rules" (such as "boys and girls can't be friends") set by students' own peers. Nadie and Nick were close friends up through third grade, and they still play together in their neighborhood, far from the judgmental eyes of their classmates, but in school, the best friends are forced to act like they hardly know each other, sitting at separate tables at lunch and barely interacting in the classroom. When new girl Summer Crawford arrives, she sets the social structure—not to mention Nadie's "good girl" reputation—on its head. Nadie's story will certainly get kids thinking about the "rules" in their own lives, and considering more carefully, as Nadie says, whether "Some rules are for following […] and some aren't." Reviewer: Norah Piehl
School Library Journal

Gr 3-5

In this novel, Nadie is caught up in feelings and social situations that will seem real to kids her age. Ever since she entered the upper elementary school in fourth grade, it seems as though the rules have changed: boys and girls can't be friends-at least in public. Nadie and Nick have been neighbors and best friends forever, but now they have to hide their relationship to avoid being teased. On top of that, new girl Summer comes on the scene and causes more tension between the genders as she becomes the class clown's nemesis as well as Nadie's pal. But Summer's antics and competition with Owen can be trouble, and Nadie's guilt by association causes a chain of troublesome events that make her yearn for the way things used to be. Readers will empathize with the protagonist and may see themselves in her as she struggles with peer relationships. Refreshingly, Nadie develops her own "rules" that include being mature enough to stick to and form her own friendships in the end, bringing together her entire classroom. Adults include an inspiring teacher and a supportive, at-home father.-Jennifer Cogan, Bucks County Free Library, Doylestown, PA

Kirkus Reviews
Now that she is in fourth grade, Nadie must follow the "boys and girls cannot be friends" rule and publicly ignore her best friend, neighbor and class newspaper co-editor Nick. Striving to fit in with the girls in her class and grade, Nadie follows the new rules by eating at the designated girls' lunch table and secretly maintaining her friendship with Nick only when they are within the boundaries of their street and respective homes. But the arrival of Summer, an offbeat new student who is unafraid to initiate her own brand of casual boy/girl exchanges, upsets the balance. Suddenly the rules of good student behavior, separate boy/girl tenets and, in particular, Nadie's carefully managed friendship with Nick are threatened. When Summer's teasing results in Nadie's false accusation for a whole host of "zoofeteria" bad behavior, Nadie must weigh the significance of real friendship against immediate self-interest. Readers will empathize with Nadie's thought-provoking predicaments and her personal responses as she struggles through the transition from lower to upper elementary school. (Fiction. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561455768
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2011
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,392,569
  • Age range: 8 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.07 (w) x 8.49 (h) x 0.43 (d)

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