Wisdom is to be shared—from the elder to the younger, the veteran to the novice, big brother to little, the girl in the grade ahead to the one below.
Shaun Tan, best-selling author of The Arrival, beautifully presents lessons from a summer of adventure in Rules of Summer. Do something “wrong” and you bring on catastrophe: If you leave the back door open overnight, the hill outside will spill in, grass will bury the carpet and television, trees will branch across the ceilings and ants will march up the walls. Another wrong kind of action means you will miss all the fun: If you’re still building your robot, you won’t be able to march in the parade, or if you drop your jar, you won’t catch any fireflies. Right actions lead to good things: safety, friendship, joy.
Tan depicts such vivid stories that the simple written advice on the opposite pages are hardly necessary, except for giving a reader something to read aloud. It would actually be fun to ask the person one is reading: “What do you think is going on here?” and “What’s the mistake or the lesson?”
Each beautiful illustration is rich with details and expressive fantasy characters that one wants to peer closely at every part of the page. While Tan’s latest picture book would delight young children, these are good rules for big people to be reminded of as well: “Always bring bolt cutters. Always know the way home. Never miss the last day of summer.”