Cynthia Lord’s children’s novel Rules begins with the central character Catherine, age twelve, babysitting her eight-year-old brother David on the first day of summer vacation. We soon learn that babysitting David is a common task for Catherine, as David is autistic and must be watched closely at all times. Catherine constantly makes up rules for her brother, such as “if someone says ‘hi,’ you say ‘hi’ back,” and “no toys in the fish tank,” to try to help her brother behave more normally. Throughout the novel, one of these “rules” heads each chapter, and more are scattered throughout the text; we also learn that Catherine writes all the “rules” down at the back of the sketchbook she carries everywhere.
(The entire section is 121 words.)
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