Adventures in Bookland: Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan


First, a tip. If you’re doing the Goodreads reading challenge, or any other reading challenge, and you’ve fallen behind schedule, this is a really, really good book to read. It has, let me see, yes… 104 words. That’s right, 104 words. So, it won’t take long to read and you can tick it right off your ‘to read’ list: another one down.

Unfortunately, you’re not so likely to leave it behind in thought.

What is it all about?

Search me.

So, let’s search the book instead.

First, the title. Hm, ‘Rules of Summer’. Very interesting. So, it suggests, it’s about rules and about summer. So, holidays, and things you shouldn’t do (and some you should).

Big brother and (protagonist) little brother. In a strange, sub-urban, half-futuristic, semi-mythological world: maybe similar to the world an imaginative and perceptive six year old lives in. (I suspect, when they see monsters under the bed, or in the closet, or behind a fence [as in rule 1: Never leave a red sock on the clothesline] that they are seeing and we are blind.)

Don’t think it’s a very nice world: rule 2: never eat the last olive at a party. Come on, someone has to – best it’s a six year old.

Rule 3: Never drop your jar. Agreed, particularly when it’s got a star in it.

Rule 4: Never leave the back door open overnight. Because you’ll get plants, molluscs and lizards in your living room. Not sure I get this one.

Rule 5: Never step on a snail. He’s right.

Rule 6: Never be late for a parade. Ditto.

Rule 7: Never ruin a perfect plan. Can’t be perfect if you can ruin it.

Rule 8: Never argue with an umpire. Particularly if he’s your elder brother. Not going to listen to you.

Rule 9: Never give your keys to a stranger. Unless he’s a human-sized cat.

Rule 10: Never forget the password. Errr.

Rule 11: Never ask for a reason. Why not?

Rule 12: Never lose a fight. And if you do, definitely, definitely don’t get on the large, scary black train to oblivion.

Oh, no! You did.


This is really, really scary. Down, down, down into the dark, followed by a murder of crows.


Double, treble phew! Big brother’s come to save me – I mean him. Him, yes, the character in the book. I’m not getting carried away, definitely not, not me.

He brought his bike! Yay. (A bit scary here, what with the skulls and the crashed planes, but I’m on my brother’s bike so I feel safe.)

Back in time for the last day of summer.


What’s it all about?

The Rules of Summer.



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