Rules of Summer is a multi-award winning picture book written and illustrated by one of Australia's most successful artists, Shaun Tan. Rules of Summer was published in 2016 by Lothian Children's Books. It is 48 pages long and suitable for children between 4 and 8. It retails for between $16.99 and $24.99. Rules of Summer tells a story about two boys whose friendship is tested over a very unusual summer.
Shaun Tan is a writer, illustrator and Academy Award-winning filmmaker. He was born in Fremantle, Western Australia in 1974, and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth as a child. His work has received widespread critical acclaim and he has won a number of awards, most notably the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from the Swedish Arts Council in 2011 for his contribution to children's and young adult literature. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is one of the biggest and most prestigious awards in the world devoted to children's literature.
Rules of Summer is one of the weirdest and most beautiful books I have ever read. What makes Shaun Tan such an interesting writer is that a lot of his picture books are not meant to be read by just children. Tan writes books that can be read by anyone regardless of gender, age or background. Rules of Summer is a good example of this. Despite being labelled a book for children, Rules of Summer can be read and enjoyed by almost anyone.
Rules of Summer is not your average picture book. It doesn't have a traditional narrative or a lot of words. The book is made up of a list of rules and has illustrations of two boys exploring a strange urban landscape. The rules don't make a lot of sense like 'Never step on a snail' or 'Never leave a red sock on a clothes line'. Some pages have no words at all just pictures. When I read this book with my four-year-old I get her to tell me what she thinks is happening on each of the pages. She has great fun coming up with her own ideas about what is happening in the book. It doesn't matter if you don't understand the rules. Just promise not to break them.
If you are interested in literature, painting, or unconventional storytelling, I would recommend this book. The illustrations are some of the highest quality that I have ever seen. You can see the brush marks on each of the pages. The pictures in this book are so good I would purchase prints of them and hang them up in my house if I could. For more information about Shaun Tan, please check out his website.