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Rules of Summer

Written & Illustrated by Shaun Tan

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Arrival

Never be late for a parade.
Never forget the password.
Never ruin a perfect plan.

It's all about the rules. But what if the rules feel completely arbitrary? What if your older brother is the only one who gets to make them up all summer long? And what if he's the only one who can save you when the darkness of winter comes rushing in?

As usual, master artist and storyteller Shaun Tan shows us the strange truth of ordinary things — rules, relationships, despair, and hope — as only he can.

Reviews and Awards

A Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2014
A Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of 2014
Parents’ Choice Silver Award
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books 2014 Blue Ribbon
2015 USBBY Outstanding International Book
A Bank Street College Center for Children’s Literature Best Book of the Year 

⋆ "In a book that reads like an homage to The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, Lindgren award-winner Tan (The Arrival) offers a sequence of paintings that represent a boy’s cumulative summer knowledge, framed as rules and populated by Tan’s now-familiar menagerie of one-eyed robots, malevolent rabbits, and windup dinosaurs. The rules appear on the left, while lavish, brilliant paintings of the accompanying disasters light up the opposite pages. An older boy yanks his younger brother away from a platter at a soiree full of glaring raptors (“Never eat the last olive at a party”); frowns when bats, lizards, and sea anemones move into the living room (“Never leave the back door open overnight”); and, after a fistfight, bundles the younger boy into a locomotive and sends him off through Siberian wastes (“Never lose a fight”). At last, the older brother relents and rescues the younger boy (“Always know the way home”); they arrive in a lush, Wayne Thiebaud–style paradise of gigantic fruits and puddings through which they parade with drum and horn. As always, the swirl of emotion that Tan’s artwork kicks up lingers long after the book is closed." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

⋆ Tan’s oil paintings, with their masterful layering of color and impressionistic plays on light and shadow, toy with the ordinary and the surreal. At its heart, this is a story about sibling relationships, and Tan artfully captures the frustration, sadness, and joy of what it means to be brothers. The sophistication of the visual narrative paired with the simplicity of the text invites multiple readings and opportunities for discussion. Sumptuous and sincere - this title is a winner.” - School Library Journal, starred review

⋆ "Vivid acrylics and oil paints depict a pretend world so surreal, so specific (and sometimes so downright disturbing) readers will spend hours poring over its subtleties and subtexts…. Amid the murky peril and bizarre cast of reappearing characters, the brothers’ relationship and its powerful emotional undertow remains the centrifugal force, holding each image - and the entire book - together. Evocative, enthralling and with absolutely astounding artwork so good readers will wish that, like summer, it would last forever." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Thrilling, disturbing, and hard to shake, Shaun Tan's latest picture book will suit both the very small reader and the one much older who seeks imaginative release…. One startling image after another." - Wall Street Journal

Rules of Summer delivers what Tan’s fans have come to expect: superb artwork that elicits both a cerebral and emotional response and that, when coupled with the text, invites readers to plumb the mysterious depths of the human experience.” - Horn Book

"Tan continues to wow readers with his expansive, surreal images….Tan’s mesmerizing, gorgeous art is as beautiful and entrancing as ever and will likely have wide appeal well outside the usual picture-book audience, especially among imaginative teen artists." - Booklist

"Visually fascinating." - New York Times

"Tan is a master of the cryptic visual metaphor, providing just enough guidance through the few words to allow readers to construct their own analogous situations of coping with a sibling, whether they are the controlling ones or the annoying tagalongs. The oversized format encourages sustained attention to the painterly textures and quirky details while also suggesting the fragile bond between the boys in a much larger world; beyond richly colored backgrounds, Tan makes his human figures small in a landscape that’s relatively barren in terms of realistic urban structures but abounding in fantasy creatures. The effect is an externalization of the deeply felt emotions of childhood." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"This is an unsentimental vision of what childhood is all about: hemmed in by unfathomable rules, beset by fears, overwhelmed by powerlessness, but punctuated as well by the buoyant optimism born of love." - Washington Post

Purchase Options
Indiebound • Scholastic Store • Amazon • Barnes & Noble

Summer 2014
Picture Book
ISBN: 978-0-545-63912-5
Price: $18.99/$19.99
Trim Size: 11 4/5" x 10 3/5"
Page Count: 48
Foreign Rights: Passion Pictures Australia Pty Ltd.
Translation Rights: Passion Pictures Australia Pty Ltd.
Rights Available? yes

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