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Review: the Sundown Rule

In: English and Literature

Submitted By SheilaAnne
Words 355
Pages 2
Review of THE SUNDOWN RULE by Wendy Townsend, published by namelos

All the wild creatures that Louise captures and lovingly observes must go back to their natural habitats by sundown. This rule was made by her gentle father who works for the Park Service and writes articles about nature.

Louise tells her own story, and this preteen’s first- person voice is perfect. She’s an unusual kid, especially by today’s standards, because she has grown up living in a nearly wilderness setting. In clear detail, she talks about her love for the crows who communicate with her and each other. Like her carnivorous cat, crows are not all sweetness and light. But she loves them all with her whole heart. So it’s very hard for her to spend the summer with her aunt and uncle in a community for retirees, where she is probably the only child. Her father is on a writing assignment in Brazil, and she doesn’t even have the comfort of her beloved cat; he’s been left at home to be cared for by friends. Louise feels trapped in her aunt and uncle’s beautiful house. When she goes exploring, she manages to discover nearby small remnants of the natural world even in this suburban area. In addition, Louise makes a good friend, a girl her own age. But she still misses her dad, the crows, and her cat.

The cover illustration of this book depicts a dead crow, visually foreshadowing a darker side to the story. Louise’s aunt and uncle had a daughter who was killed in a horseback-riding accident, and Louise suffers her own loss during this summer. She finds comfort in her love for nature but also realizes that she needs to accept and appreciate the very supportive people in her life.

Although this is what’s called a “quiet” book, it kept me totally engaged. Louise is such an appealing character, and her situation feels quite real. Children who are fascinated by creatures – from spiders to jaguars – will see themselves in Louise. Others may discover in THE SUNDOWN RULE a whole new and wonderful perspective on the natural world.

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