Chook Doolan is too much of a chicken to walk to school by himself! But then Dad tells him the special "Walking to School" rule. And RULES ARE RULES.

Walking to school is too scary for Chook - until Dad tells him the special rule for walking to school safely: no talking to anyone until you are inside the school gates. Too easy! But not talking means that he must ignore Mrs Pho from the bakery, Eddie Two-Hats the busker and Mrs Holston the lollipop lady. Chook knows he has hurt their feelings. But what can he do? RULES ARE RULES!


James Roy was born in Trundle, western NSW. When he was ten months old his parents accepted a missionary appointment to the highlands of Papua New Guinea. A placement in Fiji followed some years later and, by the age of sixteen, James had spent more than half of his life living in the islands of the South Pacific. He attributes much of his early interest in books to the absence of TV, a wonderful library full of adventure books, and the opportunity to play as those characters in wild, adventuresome places. James lives in the Blue Mountains with his family and writes both fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults. His books have won many awards and he travels throughout Australia talking about books and writing. He is an advocate for boys' literacy.

Lucinda Gifford was brought up in Scotland and originally intended to become an architect, studying Architecture at Edinburgh and Bath Universities. Lucinda’s love of drawing buildings was cancelled out at the time by an overwhelming disinterest in construction sites and the newly-introduced CAD technology, and so she went on to spend a very enjoyable fifteen years in Auckland, London and Melbourne working in advertising and design. These days, Lucinda lives with her family in Melbourne’s northern suburbs – and works as an illustrator, author-illustrator and graphic designer from her cosy, messy home studio. Lucinda uses pencil, ink, crayon, marker, and watercolour to produce her illustrations, and usually uses PhotoShop to put everything together. When not sketching, designing or developing story ideas, Lucinda enjoys plot twists, beach walks and staring out the windows of Melbourne trams.


Roy has created a likeable and familiar character in Chook, who feels like he could easily be a friend from school. Chook’s stream of consciousness is written with endearing humour, and he will be enjoyed by young boys in particular. The simple language and short chapter style of the text is well suited for emerging readers, aged five and up. Fun illustrations by Lucinda Gifford add to the book’s quirky feel.


This book was easy to read, but lots of fun. I think it would be perfect for 5-6 year olds. I give Chook Doolan three stars.

Creative Kids Tales

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.

Read Plus

All books are perfectly pitched for boys who are graduating to chapter books. The text is large, the sentences and chapters are short, and the vocabulary is simple. Most double-spread pages feature an amusing illustration by Lucinda Gifford.


These are simple but pleasant stories for newly independent readers of 5-7 years.

Janet Croft Reviews

Each book has a specific problem Chook must address, and young readers will easily associate with his feelings of insecurity and fear. They will also applaud his successes and the way he keeps trying no matter how difficult he finds the challenge.


Early readers – 5-8 year olds- will easily empathise with Chook and enjoy the funny twists and turns in Roy’s clever plots.

Reading Time

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