This is such a great book, it is easy to see how it won the Newbery in 2000. The sentence-level writing is well done, the characterization (particularly Bud and his voice) are excellent, and the plot is good too. The first time I read the book, I kept dreading when Bud was going to realize that he was mistaken in his beliefs, and then I was surprised when he was both right and wrong (and how’s that for not giving away any spoilers?) This time around I knew what was coming, and it was interesting to see little bits and pieces foreshadowing the ending that I had completely missed the first time around.
This book is funny, or at least humorous, on many occasions. I thought Bud’s perspective was authentic for a reasonably sheltered young boy with an overactive imagination. His Rules and Things were great because while they were not universally true, as was seen several times in the story, they were often dead-on observations of the way adults often act or speak to children.