Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Rules of the House

Barnett, Mac (Author)
Myers, Matthew (Illustrator)
Disney/Hyperion Books 2016. 48 pages
First published: 2016
ISBN: 9781423185161 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view, setting, structures and features

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Ian is a rule-follower extraordinaire, but his big sister, Jenny, could not be any more different. An incessant pincher and preadolescent rebel, she constantly teases her little brother for being “a toady.” When the family go on vacation to a log house in the woods, the rules of the house are posted on the wall: remove muddy shoes, no bathtub rings, replace firewood and never, ever open the red door. Predictably, Jenny does almost everything she is not supposed to do. But she goes a step too far when she opens the mysterious red door. In the middle of the night, the bearskin rug, claw foot tub and potbelly stove come to life and decide to boil Jenny up into a “rulebreaker soup.”

Written in a clever and humorous third-person narrative voice, the text uses careful pacing to build suspense, as well as tropes from fairy tales and horror stories. “Jenny turned the knob. Ian shouted, ‘Rules are meant to be followed!’ Jenny flung the door open. Nothing happened. Until that night.”

Oil painted illustrations are filled with gnarled dark woods, long shadows, a scowling Jenny and a righteous Ian. A sharp-toothed and long-clawed bear, a menacing tub and a jack-o-lantern wood-burning stove are marvellously depicted through caricature.

In the end, Ian saves the day and learns that sometimes it is OK to break the rules, like when your sister is about to be eaten by monsters.

  •  

    In small groups, discuss whether all rules should always be followed. Cite examples. Revisit the question after reading. Has your opinion changed?

  •  

    How do the details and style of the illustrations enhance your comprehension of the story? Look for specific details or techniques as examples.

  •  

    Tell the story from the point of view of the tub, rug or stove. Use a format such as a comic strip, monologue, short story, video, audio book or skit.

  •  

    Examine the book cover. What are the rules at your house? Compare rules that are common to most homes, and those that differ among families. Discuss why rules exist.

  •  

    As the book is read aloud, notice how the rules are written. Discuss how they could be written in a positive format.

  •  

    Create rules for the classroom with one set in a negative form and one in a positive form. Which do you prefer and why?

  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To solve problems
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Geography, History and Citizenship