Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Rules of Summer

Rules of Summer

Spring 2014 Picture Books
Ages: All Ages
Author: Shaun Tan
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0545639125
Hardcover Price: $18.99

Wildly imaginative and often disturbing in the way of a half-remembered dream, this picture book by artist and author Shaun Tan (Academy Award-winner for the animated short, "The Lost Thing," based on his book) can by no means be classified as strictly children's territory. Each of Tan's lavish oil paintings depicting two boys in fantastical settings and odd circumstances suggests a story in itself. "Never leave a red sock on the clothesline" (if a huge red rabbit is lurking in the alley). "Never eat the last olive at a party" (if the other party-goers are enormous falcons). A back door left open may bring some strange and squirmy uninvited guests; standing on a water tower while catching comets with a net is a bad time to drop a jar; and remembering the way home will prevent haunting detours. But no worries: When the boys follow the last rule—"Never miss the last day of summer"—ominous skies and unsettling situations give way to a feast of color and light. For older children and adults.

Lynne Heffley   ©2014 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper's first weekly children's arts and entertainment beat.

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