BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan

Rules of SummerArgh! Here where I’m stuck for another month, three or four inches of snow greeted me this morning (so much for almost May!). But if anyone can convince me summer is coming, that would be the inimitable Shaun Tan. This, his latest title, immediately pulls me into saturated landscapes – just opening the pages releases a waft of mischief and melts my frozen curiosity. I realize that summer in Tan’s native Australia parallels our North American winter (or late spring, in some places, ahem!), but please allow me these few minutes of warm escape …

“This is what I learned last summer: …,” and so Rules of Summer begins. A pair of brothers wander, hide, explore as if they are the only two humans in their surreal city playground, surrounded by endless possibilities and the most fantastical, whimsical creatures.

“Never leave a red sock on the clothesline,” the text commands. Because as the mesmerizing picture on the opposite page reveals, that single sock proves to be a siren call which brings a behemoth, angry, red-eyed, red bunny into the back alley while a black bird calmly looks on.

“Never leave the back door open overnight.” Because who knows what sort of ill-behaved guests might move in and what they might do! “Never be late for a parade.” Because what you might miss will never come by again! “Never give your keys to a stranger.” Because in the short time you’re locked out, that stranger will replace you in your very own life! “Never wait for an apology.” Because while you’re trapped in your own dark, glowing anger, even the swirling snow won’t be able cool you down. Luckily, help is on the way …

The younger brother learns (sometimes the hard way), but he also makes mistakes and argues, even rebels and gets banished. Yet he also knows that he can rely on the unbreakable bonds of brotherhood: when he extends his hand, he finds another ready to pull him to safety. The rules may prove to be arbitrary – some might only exist to be broken – but brotherhood remains sacred.”That’s it,” declares the final text as the boys sit watching TV surrounded by reminders of their exciting exploits. At least until the next – and final – wordless page: already the brothers are plotting their next big adventure. Fueled by Tan’s infinite imagination, we’ll be begging to go along …

For more of Tan’s award-winning titles on BookDragon, click here.

Readers: Children

Published: 2013 (Australia), 2014 (United States)


No Comment

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.