Chook Doolan: Rules are rules by James Roy

cover image

Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781922244932
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Courage. Rules. Independence. Chook Doolan is afraid to walk to school by himself. His father tells him the special 'Walking to School' rule - no talking to anyone until he gets through the school gates and insists that RULES ARE RULES. Chook walks along the familar path to school, where he meets Mrs Pho from the bakery, Eddie Two-Hats the busker and Mrs Holston the lollipop lady. He knows them but refuses to speak to them or acknowlege their greetings and even though he knows he has hurt their feelings, he believes what his father said about rules being rules. Chook has to make a plan to ensure that these people won't hate him, so with the help of his friend Joe, comes up with a solution that means he doesn't break his father's rule, but apologises and stops their hurt feelings.
This is a feel good book that will appeal to children who are just becoming newly independent, not only in their reading, but in the things that are expected of them. Chook is very frightened of lots of things and it is a big achievement for him to walk to school by himself. What is just as important though, is the way that he and Joe problem solve and work out how to smooth over the ruffled feelings of the people that Chook ignored on his way to school.
The short sentences, easy text and clear print will be a boon for newly emerging independent readers, and the black and white illustrations by Lucinda Gifford give contextual clues as well as portraying a brave and caring Chook Doolan.
Rules are rules is sure to be a winner with its targeted audience because of the themes of becoming independent, facing fear and seeking help from friends, are ones that they will be able to relate to easily. There are guided reading program teacher's notes available for the series.
Pat Pledger