One thought on “Rules Of Summer

  1. Holly Johnson & Becca Gasiewicz says:

    Another book I really liked from the OIB 2015 list is the Australian missive Rules of Summer (Tan, 2014) that had me engaged on a number of levels. The younger of two brothers explains what he learned during the summer through a series of simple commands dictated by the older brother. The illustrations cry out to be viewed metaphorically as the older brother lists a number of seemingly arbitrary rules that only older brothers can make up. The disasters that befall those who break the rules are profound and life-changing! And these disasters are powerfully portrayed in Tan’s illustrations.
    I think the situation that spoke most to me in this book was the series of illustrations and accompanying written text that start with “never ask for a reason” and end with “always bring bolt cutters.” The relationship between the two brothers is complex even as the written text would—on the surface—suggest otherwise. This book addresses the arbitrary rules of the older brother, but it could be used with Arto’s Big Move from last week IF someone wanted to examine the seemingly arbitrary nature of resistance, which could be another theme that transcends all the books we are discussing this month, Becca. The younger brother resists the older brother with the entry of “never ask for a reason”, Arto resists the move by continuing to wear winter clothing during his year of the Southwest, but the hat in Arto’s Big Move is akin to “always bring bolt cutters.” In Shh! We Have a Plan, the resistance of the younger friend is displayed with the continual attempt to engage the exotic bird outside the other friends’ plans and the “bolt cutters” in that book is the flock’s retaliation. Interesting connections that would be worth exploring further, but suffice it to say that Rules of Summer is another great book by Shaun Tan that needs to be read by everyone! Thinking the same thing, Becca?
    I do agree, Holly! I also like the dynamics of a sibling relationship so eloquently played out through the text. My favorite line in the book is “never miss the last day of summer.” What I love about this line is that it represents the fun and adventure that took place throughout the summer, but the illustration paired with the text is the older brother helping the younger brother up at the top of the ladder. While the older brother has set the rules, the game of summer, if you will, cannot be played without both siblings taking part. The illustrations are truly what tell the story; the words alone would not begin to create the imagery and adventure of summer without these colorful, fantastical illustrations. I am, yet again, enthralled by a creation of the Australian author and illustrator, Shaun Tan.

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