Giveaway! Rules of the House by Mac Barnett and Illustrated by Matt Myers

Disney-Hyperion sent me this title, and is also providing a prize pack for two winners from my site. No other compensation was received.


Siblings Jenny and Ian each have a very different philosophical and practical approach to rules.  Ian follows rules diligently and declares that rules are meant to be followed. (He’s welcome at our house any time.)  Jenny, we find out, NEVER follows the rules.  Never.  Really?  Well, basically never.  She pinches, lies, hikes off trail, swims after eating without waiting, and climbs trees higher than her head. When it comes to following a list of rules that are clearly written and posted on a cabin wall (in all caps) where they’re staying, Jenny carelessly breaks them one by one.  She tracks in mud, doesn’t clean out the tub after using it, and doesn’t replace the firewood.  During an argument with Ian, Jenny breaks the final rule:  NEVER– EVER — OPEN THE RED DOOR. (I mean, who does that?  Why, Jenny?  Why? We get you break rules, but that door is seriously spooky. For the love of Pete, use some common sense!)

But when she does open that super-creepy door and you expect for her to get her comeuppance — Nothing happens.


Nothing happens, until that night. And then, well, um, Jenny.  You might want to run.  Ian thinks he safe, because he hasn’t broken any rules, but I wouldn’t feel too smug if I were him.  Sometimes the rules change.

Rules of the House is a spooky, rebellious, and subversive look at rules, why we make and follow them, and how we treat people who break them and get caught.  When is it okay to break the rules and what rules are the most important for us to follow is explored in Rules of the House.  It gets children thinking and gives us a great opportunity to hear why and when they should bend, break, and follow the rules — all while they are squealing, laughing, and hiding (just a little bit) behind a couch cushion.

It has a great balance of fantasy and reality — so my five-year-old son was sure this book was pretend — until it was time to go to bed.  Then he asked nonchalantly — “That book is pretend, right?”  And so I responded, “You know, I’m pretty sure the book is pretend; but, I wouldn’t want to be a rule breaker and then find out its true.”  To which I got an almost teenagery — “Awww, come on!  You know it isn’t true! You’re lying!”  I shrugged, smiled, and acted all innocent, “How am I lying?  If we don’t break the rules, we don’t have to worry about it.”

When he came home from school the next day he wanted me to read Rules of the House to him as soon as he walked in the door — five more times.  He’s about 99% sure this book is pretend, but he’s started asking me, “Did I break any rules today?”

My eldest son has enough traits of both characters that he identifies with both Ian and Jenny.  It was impressive watching him root for both characters.  He’s all about rules, but feels more adamant that rules should be followed when his little brother is breaking them than when he is.  This book gave us a great opportunity for him to see various perspectives.  It’s great to read a book that shows both the rule follower and the rule breaker — and how both can have their strengths and weaknesses.

The illustrations are fantastic.  They give an incredibly spooky vibe to the whole story — such that even before you turn the first page you’re drawn in wondering what’s going to happen.  The illustrations set the tone beautifully and gives the perfect balance of fun and thrill.  I tell you though, that door that they’re not supposed to open gave me the chills. It’s clear that its just red paint, but still.  I don’t know who in their right mind would open that door, rules or no.

Rules of the House is loads and loads of fun with the added benefit that my eldest son has been a little bit better behaved. It’s been especially fun when my son has been in a particularly rebellious mood to smile, shrug, and ask him, “You really want to be a rule breaker?”

Recommended Ages 8 to 12.  (My five-year-old son loves this book.)  Disney-Hyperion. May 2016. 48 pages. ISBN: 978-1423185161. Fiction.


Giveaway Details!

  • Two giveaways.
    • One is open to all those with a US Address.  A copy of Rules of the House and a toothbrush will be mailed to you.
    • One giveaway is open for those of you in the Twin Cities area who are willing to travel to Addendum Books in St. Paul, MN.  One copy of Rules of the House and a toothbrush will be sent to Addendum Books and I’ll give them your name. When it is ready I’ll let you know and you’ll just stop by and pick it up.
  • To Enter:
    • Twin Cities — Go to Addendum Book’s Upcoming Events Page between now and June 1st, 2016 and then come back and tell me which event they’re hosting that looks the most interesting to you in the comment section below.   I will put all names in a randomizer and reply to your comment if it’s you!
    • US Addresses — leave a comment telling me who your favorite independent bookstore is in the form below with a link to their website.  I will put all names in a randomizer and then reply to your comment to let you know if it’s you!
    • Be 18 years or older. One comment per person.  I will share your address with the company that will be mailing you the book or your name with Addendum Books, but I won’t share it with anyone else unrelated to the giveaway.

Where to Get it:

Author and Illustrator Websites:

  • Author:  Mac Barnett
  • Illustrator:  Matt Myers — and this link goes to a teaser of Rules of the House

More Reviews of this Book:

Where Obtained: Disney-Hyperion sent me this title, and is also providing a prize pack for two winners from my site. No other compensation was received.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I have no affiliation with Addendum Books other than the fact that I love this bookstore so much!  The owners are super nice and I want to support them.  This seemed like a fun idea.

FTC Disclosures:  Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit.  It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”





  1. I’d love to be entered to win the mailed copy. My favorite indie bookstore is the only one in our town, Beaverdale Books. Alice, the owner, was the very first bookseller to place my indie children’s book on her shelves. Alice is such a wonderful supporter of indie authors in our community, often hosting book events and signings for us.

    Liked by 1 person

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