Sunday, June 1, 2008

Rules by Cynthia Lord

I recommend this book for: grade 4-7

Catherine is 12, and her little brother David is a problem. He can't help it, because he is autistic, but that doesn't make it any easier to explain why he won't keep his pants on if they get wet, or why the first thing he does when he goes to anyone's house is to tear through it and make sure the basement door is closed. Or why he quotes extensively from Frog and Toad Are Friends rather than using his own words. She loves her brother, but their parents have little attention to spare for her, and now Catherine is afraid that he's going to hurt her social life when a new girl who's sure to be popular moves in next door.

Her vision changes a bit when she meets Jason at the office of David's therapist. Jason is a few years older than Catherine and in a wheelchair, and he can't physically speak. He communicates by pointing to words printed on cards in a binder. As Catherine starts making new words for him and they become friends, she's forced to make choices about how to spend her time and what is most important. This is a great book, with real characters, funny moments, and a protagonist who does the best she can.

Read it from the pros.

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