Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Rules by Cynthia Lord

I really enjoyed this book. The story is told first person by 12-year-old Catherine, whose brother David is autistic. David's behavior is not always what Catherine would like it to be, so she has a constantly evolving set of rules to help him, for instance: If the bathroom door is closed, knock first (especially if Catherine has a friend over)! Some rules are made to be broken, such as: No toys in the fish tank. David usually announces this rule as he comes into Catherine's room, and then she knows that he has put yet another toy in the fish tank. Catherine feels that her social life is ruined by David's inappropriate and irrational behaviors. She also feels that her parents don't pay enough attention to her, and that they expect too much of her. While waiting for David at his occupational therapy, Catherine draws the attention of a wheelchair-bound, non-verbal boy named Jason. To make up for sketching a picture of him without his permission, she illustrates some word cards for his "communication book" and she starts to look forward to seeing him every week. The book is funny and paints a good picture of life with a disabled sibling. Review by Stacy Church

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