Author(s): John & Jana
A Rule is to Break follows the escapades of Wild Child, the little girl who is free to do as she pleases. John Seven and Jana Christy present a children's book like no other where the principles of anarchism are outlined in an easy, fun and lively fashion. Wild Child learns important lessons about herself and how to express herself freely. In a world with too many rules, Wild Child is free to be herself and learn as she pleases.
Many children's books encourage self-expression and free thought; few take those ideas as far as this collaboration from Seven and Christy, the duo behind The Ocean Story (2011). "The opposite of rules is anarchy!" opens the book as a blue-haired girl leaps naked across the page. Various ways to insert a little anarchy into one's life follow. "Don't look like everybody else! Be you," Seven writes as the girl sews a devil costume for herself. Anticommercial sentiments run through several scenes ("Paint pictures on your TV! Forget about grocery stores and get dirty in your garden!"), and even adult readers taken aback by lines like "When someone says ‘Work!', you say Why?" and "No baths ever again!" will be able to get behind suggestions to "Educate yourself. Use your brain" and "Listen to the tiniest voice." This is the softer side of anarchy, with an emphasis on fun and independence, but also community and kindness. Seven and Christy's heroine wouldn't look out of place in a Peter H. Reynolds story, and their message isn't far from his work either—it's just been cranked up to 11. Ages 4–up. (Dec.) Publishers Weekly
John and Jana found success in comics with their book "Very Vicky." In 2003, their illustrated family travelogue, "Four Go Mad in Massachusetts," was published by Commonwealth Editions. Most recently, John and Jana collaborated on two picture books, "Happy, Sad, Silly, Mad: My World Makes Me Feel" (Andrews McMeel, 2009), and "The Ocean Story" (Picture Windows, 2011), which won "Creative Child" magazine s 2011 Creative Child Award Seal of Excellence and was short-listed for the 2012 Green Earth Book Award. A board book for the under-five crowd, "A Year With Friends," is forthcoming from Abrams in 2012."