Wednesday, June 19, 2024

BLOG TOUR! Rachel Friedman Breaks the Rules

Kapit, Sarah and Kote, Genevieve (Illus.) Rachel Friedman Breaks the Rules
June 18, 2024 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Rachel is eight years old and doesn't like to follow the rules. Her father is doing his best to raise her and her older brother Aaron after the death of her mother when Rachel was very young, but struggles with the best way to handle Rachel's defiance and ADHD. Rachel does gymnastics, and idolizes teen sensation Holly Luna, so when her best friend Maya gets tickets to go see her, Rachel is jealous. After several different episodes involving not following the rules, like throwing challah at Aaron and making and throwing a paper airplane at shul, Rachel's father makes her a deal; if she can follow the rules for a week, she can go see Holly Luna. Rachel really tries, but when one of Aaron's friends leaves the door to the house open and her cat Cookie escapes, Rachel breaks the very important rule of not crossing the street alone so she can rescue her pet. She not only has to clean the litter box for the month, but the trip to see Holly Luna is off. To protest, Rachel decides to break as many rules as she can. She wears her pajamas to shul, eats a cookie there, and finishes off her display by doing a cartwheel in the aisle. Rabbi Ellen is very understanding, and tells Rachel that while questioning is an important part of Jewish faith, there are some important reasons why the rules exist. Rachel's father apologizes to her for not understanding her point of view and lets her go see her idol. This appears to be the first book in a planned series. 
Strengths: Rachel is an amusing character, somewhat along the lines of Junie B. Jones and her exuberantly defiant personality. Her hatred of rules will be shared by many young readers, who will applaud her attempts to push boundaries. Kote's illustrations are perfect, and add a lot of interest to the page. Rachel's Jewish culture plays a large role in the book, and I especially liked Rabbi Ellen's assertion that questioning is part of religious tradition. 
Weaknesses: Since I have to deal all day with children who think the rules don't apply to them, and that they can run in the hallway, I would have preferred it if Rachel had been more considerate of others. I wasn't quite sure why she was so averse to rule following, and I prefer a character like Nina Soni, who occasionally gets into trouble but learns from her experiences. 
What I really think: This is a good addition to culturally connected early reader series like Sheth's Nina Soni, Brown's Lola Levine, and Warner's Absolutely Alfie, and, Florence's  Jasmine Toguchi.

The Sequel, Rachel Friedman and Eight Not-Perfect Nights of Hanukkah is out September 3, 2024, and the third, Rachel Friedman Is Not the Queen, is out in February 2025!

Rachel Friedman Breaks the Rules Blog Tour Schedule

June 17








June 18



June 19




June 20



June 21



1 comment:

  1. I think I have to agree with you that it would be nice if the book led to a little more understanding on Rachel's part, too!