In Shaun Tan's style, this book has a greater depth than just images and words. Rules of Summer has a darker side to it. It's not designed to give to a young child without discussing it. Rules of Summer is about two boys on summer holidays. In his YouTube clip, Shaun Tan talks about Rules of Summer - The Origins and Ideas, Shaun Tan says, 'It's a relationship that's both very friendly and caring, but also antagonistic, and towards the end of the book, begins to disintegrate before finding some kind of redemption in coming together again... This is the sort of book that you can open it on any page and spend five minutes or an hour pondering the image, close the book, and that would be sufficient experience.' (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHYRc7F0pwQ)
Without pondering or discussion, the words and pictures are bleak. For example, one page states, 'Never lose a fight.' The next page says, 'Never wait for an apology.' When I read it to one group of students, we discussed each page. For instance, we discussed if they believe that they actually should never lose a fight, or if it is sometimes best to just walk away. We also discussed what happens when an apology does not come immediately. This then progressed to a further discussion on apologies and that sometimes people need time to reflect on what happened, which might delay an apology.
For parents, guardians, grandparents and other community members, if you are interested in giving this book as a present, feel free to come into the iCentre and have a read of it first. Overall, I wouldn't stay clear of buying Rules of Summer, just be ready to discuss it.