Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE SUNDOWN RULE by Wendy Townsend Kirkus Star


by Wendy Townsend

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60898-099-4
Publisher: Namelos

This spare, lovely novel concerns that moment in childhood, at once universal and utterly lonely, when one is forced to recognize that all life is mortal. Living in rural Michigan with her naturalist father and her beloved cat, Cash, Louise has developed a deep affinity for the natural world and its creatures, rescuing baby animals and injured wildlife, like the heron bitten by a snapping turtle. But she abides (sometimes reluctantly) by Dad’s Sundown Rule: At day’s end, she must return the animals where she found them. When Dad lands a National Geographic assignment in Brazil, he leaves Louise with his sister and her husband in the suburbs. Both are kind, but Aunt Kay is allergic to animals, so Cash must stay behind and Louise can’t bring the baby rabbit and raccoon she rescues into their house. Louise finds a sympathetic friend in Sarah but resists the teaching of Sarah’s church that animals have no souls, which Louise finds especially cruel after she experiences a devastating loss. Her efforts to understand and make peace with what has happened will give new meaning to the Sundown Rule. Unfolding with the implacable clarity of the natural world Louise reveres, the novel proves that a quiet story can be as gripping as the busiest action-packed narrative—and with more staying power. (Fiction. 8-12)