Rules

By: 

Cynthia Lord

Number of Pages: 

208

Minimum grade level: 

4th

Catherine keeps a notebook with rules for David. Rules like…

  1. If someone says “hi” say “hi” back.
  2. Chew with your mouth closed.
  3. Say “thank you” when someone gives you a present (even if you don’t like it).
  4. If the bathroom door is closed, knock.
  5. No toys in the fish tank.
  6. Sometimes people laugh because they like you. But sometimes they laugh to hurt you.

“Let’s go to the video store,” says David. The video store is David’s favorite place. He runs around reading all the ratings on the backs of the boxes, even the ones other people are holding. The hardest is when he kneels down in the aisle to read the box someone is holding. He is oblivious to the looks people give him. “No one cares,” says Dad but he’s wrong they do care thinks Catherine.

Catherine wants to make friends with the new girl who is moving in next door this summer and she doesn’t want David to mess it up. But sometimes you can’t predict who you will become friends with. She gives a picture she was drawing to a boy at David’s occupational therapy and starts a friendship. Everything is fine until the new girl next door sees Catherine with Jason her new friend from occupational therapy and Catherine doesn’t know how to act.

Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. Do you have rules for yourself?
  2. Do you have a favorite rule from Catherine’s list?
  3. Do you know anyone or does anyone in your family have a disability? How does this affect you family?
  4. Are you surprised by Catherine’s feelings about David?
  5. What are Catherine’s feelings about Jason?
  6. Why does Catherine try to hide from Kristi in the park? What would you have done?
  7. Is Catherine a good friend? Why or why not?
  8. Jason thinks Catherine is embarrassed by him. Is she?
  9. Would you be mad at Catherine if you were Jason?
  10. Catherine is worried Kristi will make fun of David. Do you think she will if given the chance?
  11. Do you think Catherine and Kristi can be friends in the future? Should Catherine try and be friends with Kristi?

If you liked this book, try

  • Al Capone Does my Shirts by Jennifer Choldenko

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.