cover image The Sundown Rule

The Sundown Rule

Wendy Townsend, namelos (, $18.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-60898-099-4

In this quiet novel, Townsend (Lizard Love) again explores a girl's deep love for the natural world. Louise lives with her father, a nature writer who works for the Park Service, on a lake in Michigan, surrounded by wildlife. Devoted to the many creatures she encounters, Louise has a special passion for the injured ones, which she tries to help. In an early scene, she describes stitching a wounded heron's bloody leg, then releasing it: "I held on to the bottom of my shirt, where it was damp and had some blood on it. I knew it was silly, but I hoped it wouldn't wash out." The book's title is drawn from her father's rule: she may bring home any animal she wants, but must release it by sundown. When Louise's father goes to Brazil for a six-week assignment, she stays with her loving aunt and uncle in their suburban development, where she struggles to find the nature and wildlife she craves. The story's two dramatic events occur backstage, yet Townsend builds a rich, moving story that is refreshing for its subject matter and lyrical realism. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)