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Child’s Book of Rules

A Walmart employee is hoping to reunite a child with the incredible book of rules that they wrote.

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It’s a hardcover hurrah that’s a bit of a handful.

Citrus Heights cousins Isabella Thordsen and Isabelle Busath were dealing with tired hands Thursday – but for a very good reason.

They couldn’t have signed their own names at all just a few years ago, but now they’re autographing 1,200 hundred copies of their very own book.

“I can’t believe this. It’s a like a dream,” said 8-year-old Isabella, looking at the stacks of her book sitting around her.

That dream started with a nightmare back in January when the little book of rules the girls worked on in their spare time was dropped in a Wal-mart parking lot.

They thought tips like “ware your seatbelt” and “resicle” were lost forever.

No taking off for spelling here.

Thanks to a store employee who found the book and contacted FOX40, we found Isabelle and Isabella.

And we found out through emails that folks all over the country wanted to read the little guide to life penned by the pee wee writers.

Eventually publishers Simon and Schuster wanted to help out with that.

Those getting some of the pre-autographed copies will get something more than just the girls’ John Hancock.

“I’ve been drawing hearts, smiley faces in the hearts,” said Isabella.

“I just wanted to put something else in it where you can look at it and go, ‘that’s cool,’” said 10-year-old Isabelle.

They’ve made it cool to follow the rules.

“I feel amazed, because I never thought I’d get a book published. And it’s very hard to get a book published, too.  And it’s one of my dreams since I love writing,” said Isabelle.

The “Little Book of Rules” will go on sale October first at places like Toys R Us, Target and Hallmark.

The girls will host the first book signing of their tour  on Oct. 5 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Casey’s Hallmark in Sacramento.

Eric Rucker and Bethany Crouch talk to Isabelle Busath and Isabella Thorsden. Earlier this year the girls lost their book of rules at a local Walmart. That book is now being published.


Swimming and camping. Sounds like a pretty typical list of summer must-dos for most kids.

But right in-between sleepovers and Six Flags, two little literary wonders from Citrus Heights are gearing up to see their advice for life bound on store shelves.

“Don’t stuff food in your mouth,” said 10-year-old Isabelle Busath, reviewing one of the rules she’s helped write.

“I know this boy in my class who does that … I won’t say his name,” she giggled.

Monday Busath and her 8-year-old cousin Isabella Thordsen eagerly read aloud from the mock-up of their “Little Book of Rules” which is in the process of being published by Simon & Shuster.

“Lots of people are going to be saying ‘oh my gosh these little girls wrote books,’” said Thordsen from her defacto writing studio – her aunt’s house in Citrus Heights.

Her mother, Sarah Tatarakis, still can’t believe her daughter and niece have written their way into impressive college funds just by writing about situations they’ve heard or lived through.

“I have to take this call from my daughter’s agent. It doesn’t seem real, but that makes you a proud mommy,” she said.

“If I knew this would have been published, I would have wrote a little neater,” said Isabelle, since many pages in the new book appear as they did in the girls’ original notebook.

Seven months ago, the girls’ little book of rules was a little book lost – dropped in a Walmart parking lot while in Isabelle’s care.

After FOX40 mounted a search to find the authors of lines like “no stealing,” and “try to make things fairs,” and “go to bed early if you have dance in the morning, ” the station reunited the girls with their handwritten handbook for life.

The kudos, requests for copies and offers for these wanna-be-famous writers to become the bona fide real deal poured in.

Simon and Schuster stood out.

“We could tell that they wanted the girls. We could tell they had personal connection with the girls,” said Michelle Busath, Isabelle’s mother.

While writing rules about who gets to ride in the front seat was easy, it was difficult for 8-year-old Isabella to visualize how they would get into print.

She thought publishing meant she’d have to give up the wire-bound notebook, where she and her cousin have penned pieces of wisdom from home and school.

“I was kinda mad. I didn’t understand she said nothing’s going to happen with your book and so I started getting excited,” she said.

Now favorites like “don’t bite the dentist” will be on featured pages. And the girls are still writing.

They’re on rule 246, up from the 158 they had in January.

FOX40 asked what kind of summertime rule the girls might suggest.

“No pretending to drown,” offered Isabella.

“Have fun,” said Isabelle.

In addition to a summer edition of their rule book, the girls are also considering writing one for Christmastime. “Don’t pull Santa’s beard,” is already on their list.

The book is due out in October and will be available at Target and Hallmark for $12.99. You can pre-order on right now.

With all that’s come to Isabelle and Isabella thanks to a misplaced book, there’s almost no greater proof that sometimes you gain when you lose.


Doing interviews via cell while waiting to jet off to a New York TV gig, Isabelle Busath and Isabella Thordsen are looking every part the literary legends they’re fast becoming.

Their face-to-face with fame started Monday when FOX40 teamed up with Raymond Flores to track down the authors of a handwritten book of rules he found in a Walmart parking lot.

By the time we did, the story of the girls’ guide to life and rules like “eat the food you’re served with” and “don’t bite the dentist” had gone global.

“He was really nice not throwing it away,” said Thordsen, about Flores.

“The phones are off the hook, the emails. The support has been amazing,” said Thordsen’s mom Sarah Tatarakis.

Email after email has come in asking for copies and offering publishing deals, praising children dedicated to doing what’s right.

“It makes me feel happy and like that I can follow some rules to have a good life and stuff,” said co-author Isabelle.

“Some of it’s off the wall. Some of it’s what adults need to live by,” said Isabelle’s mom, Michelle.

A fact not lost on all the teachers and parents who want copies of this cousin-produced creation, right at a time when names like Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o are more known for lies and deception than sport.

The girls’ parents say they’ve got the honesty thing down and that they’re rarely in trouble, but the girls admit to struggling with some of their own advice.

“The hardest for me to follow is to be nice to my 5-year-old little sister. She gets into my stuff,” said Isabelle.

“No hitting people, because I get too mad at my brothers,” said Thordsen.

For now, the girls are onto their next chapter, the morning show circuit on Friday.


Five days after all of their written, worldly wisdom was lost inside a little book, FOX40 was able to connect the Walmart employee who found it a this store parking lot and the cousins who coined some rules now famous nationwide.

Isabelle Busath, 10, and 8-year-old Isabella Thordsen aren’t just cousins, they’re best friends and writing partners.

Struggles with stubborn little sisters who like to color on people instead if on paper were their inspiration, so they found an empty notebook.

“I said, ‘why don’t we put the rules in here and whoever breaks it has to sit at the door for five minutes,’ and so we came up with all these good rules,” said Thordsen.

‘No stealing,’ is one of the 157 rules to live by they’ve written down. “Don’t bite the dentist” is another.

Not taking off for spelling here - others are ‘ware’ your seat belt and ‘resicle.’

Isabelle had just finished writing the number 158…

“And  my pen kinda exploded on me,” she said.

The friend she asked to hold the book while she cleaned up dropped it in a Walmart parking lot.

“I felt like, ‘oh my gosh, I hope I get it back soon,’” said Isabella.

Luckily, that did happen, but not before the internet went crazy as word of the found book got out.

“For just a little book with a bunch of rules in it. Wow,” Isabella said when asked about the emails that have come in to FOX40 from all over the country.

“It’s kinda overwhelming,” said Sarah Tatarakis, Isabella’s mom.

But not too surprising for moms of daughters who are constantly creating.

“She’s been writing books before she could even write. She would scribble on a piece of paper and then tell me what it says,” said Michelle Busath, Isabelle’s mom.

And since one of the emails promises a publishing deal, these girls may go from sequined Skechers to real glitz.

It’s cool to follow the rules.

Rule book co-author Isabelle believes, “if you follow rules, you can have fun more.”

Local News

Rule Book Found

A book filled with over 150 rules has been found in a Citrus Heights Walmart parking lot. Paul Robins and Tia Ewing sit down with the guy who found the book and is looking for the author.


A Walmart employee is hoping to reunite a child with the incredible book of rules that they wrote.

“Don’t get into other people’s business. Don’t call each other names. Clean up your messes. No eating other people’s food. One hundred eighteen is don’t keep saying please if someone says no. I like that,” said Raymond Flores as he reads off the kind of advice you might snatch up in the self-help section at Barnes & Noble.

“One hundred twelve is to try to make things fair,” reads Flores.

But these life lessons came to Walmart employee Flores at work, as he scanned the lot of his Citrus Heights store for empty carts.

“There really wasn’t much out there and I saw this book sitting in a parking spot, so I thought I’d pick it up and check it out,” said Flores.

After flipping through these little pages, Flores quickly realized he’d found something too special to be tossed.

“Rule number 154 was to protect this book,” he read.

Following the lead of the young author and Batman, one of his superhero idols, he wants to find the rightful owner.

“They put a lot of hard work into it. These rules mean a lot to them and probably to the parents, as well,” he said.

While it’s obvious the more trained hand of a parent wrote down several of the rules, page turning reveals words and wisdom penned by a little person.

“Ware (sic) your seatbelt.”

“Resicle (sic)”

“One of them is go to bed early if you have dance in the morning. That applies to more than just dance. If you have work, school, anything important; just prioritize,” Flores said.

“Put your shoes by the front door when you take them off,” he reads that line as he looks over at his own shoes piled by a doorway.

Other listed ‘rules’ to live by that appear to have come from a child, speak across years they’ve yet to live.

“Don’t leave your friends behind and no texting and driving at the same time,” Flores read.

The other reason’s he’s so interested in getting the book back to it’s author, is that it’s clear rule 158 was in progress when the book was lost.”

“I thought this was adorable. I just thought it was really nice and stuff. What kind of kid does this,” he said.

Flores can’t wait to find out.

He’s hoping this story reaches the book’s owner and it can be returned.

One the rules that might stand out the most: Don’t bite the dentist.

If you’re the author or connected to the child who is, Flores is asking you to email FOX40′s Sonseeahray Tonsall at