The Sundown Rule

( 2 )

Overview

Louise and her dad live an idyllic life surrounded by nature. When he gets an assignment to go to Brazil to write an article for a magazine, Louise has to go live in a suburb with her aunt and uncle, leaving her cat, Cash, behind, since Aunt Kay is allergic to animals. Her dad says that it will be for only six weeks, and that everything will be okay. But it isn't, especially when Cash gets hit by a car and dies. And when a new friend's dad shoots a crow for no reason. And when ...
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The Sundown Rule

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Overview

Louise and her dad live an idyllic life surrounded by nature. When he gets an assignment to go to Brazil to write an article for a magazine, Louise has to go live in a suburb with her aunt and uncle, leaving her cat, Cash, behind, since Aunt Kay is allergic to animals. Her dad says that it will be for only six weeks, and that everything will be okay. But it isn't, especially when Cash gets hit by a car and dies. And when a new friend's dad shoots a crow for no reason. And when her own dad gets sick, really sick, and might not be coming home.

Like her previous book, "Lizard Love", Wendy Townsend's finely observed story of a girl's love of all things wild and free is a powerful testimony to our natural world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
Children's Literature - Cynthia Levinson
Louise Eliot loves living in a cottage by Marl Lake, in Michigan, with her father, Jeff, and her cat, Cash. She observes the details of nature around her—the crows, whose calls she imitates, the plants and animals she's carefully placed in her terrarium, the heron, robin, and turtle she's tried to nurse. Life is idyllic—until her father announces he's going to Brazil to write an article about rain forest animals for National Geographic and that Lews, as he calls her, cannot accompany him. Instead, Louise must go stay with her Uncle Jack and Aunt Kay, who is allergic to animals, so he arranges with neighbors to care for Cash. Louise is devastated, especially when she discovers that her aunt and uncle live in a suburban sub-division. Not only that but Aunt Kay kills spiders; the nearby woods are littered with trash; and local traffic wakes her. When she finds orphaned raccoons, Aunt Kay, though kind, prevents her from tending them near the house. Fortunately, she meets Sarah, a girl her age, and Sarah's divorced father, Newt, whom she likes. But, after playing with her one day, Louise learns that Cash has been hit by a car and killed. Sympathetic, Newt brings a dog, Buster, for Louise to play with and takes the girls to a butterfly exhibit; however, out of habit, he shoots crows, one of which Louise treasures. Louise's distress deepens when her father suffers a serious appendix attack; Sarah's church prays for him. The book concludes with Aunt Kay getting a tortoise for Louise and taking her back to Marl Lake, to her recuperating father. This is a quiet story whose tensions are emotional, rather than adventuresome or suspenseful. Readers who appreciate nature, church, understanding adults, and girls' attachments to their pets will enjoy this book. Reviewer: Cynthia Levinson
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Louise lives with her father in a Michigan state park. Her dad works for the Park Services so Louise has grown up surrounded by wildlife. When she was little she brought home so many animals that her father made "the sundown rule"—all creatures must be returned to the place where she had found them by sundown. When her father receives an opportunity to go to Brazil to write an article for National Geographic, Louise is sent to stay with her loving Aunt Kay and Uncle Jack. However, they live in a housing development with manicured lawns and bushes, a far cry from the woods and fields that Louise loves so dearly. She must leave her cat, Cash, at home for the neighbors to feed since Aunt Kay is allergic to animals. When Cash is hit by a car and killed, Louise feels even more alone. Although the plot is mildly uneventful, Townsend creates in this story a girl passionately in tune with all creatures of the wild. The interactions and observations between Louise and an orphaned baby raccoon, a jaguar in the zoo, and the crows she feeds are expertly depicted with truth and elegance. The characters, both adults and adolescents, are truthful with their feelings yet respectful. The strength in this story lies in the author's art of evoking genuine appreciation and reverence for nature.—D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608981007
  • Publisher: namelos
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 130
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Wendy Townsend is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults Program.

Since 2004 she has lead the Summer Weekend Intensive Workshops in Writing for Children at Empire State College in New Paltz and has worked on independent studies with both undergrad and grad students at Empire State College.

In 1993 she coauthored and illustrated Iguanas: A Guide to Their Biology and Captive Care. After she finished her work on Iguanas, she knew that she wanted to write.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

    BEST BOOK EVER

    I LOVE animals, so i can relate to the girl. Only read a little bit, but it is already a great story. GREAT BOOK!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    Best girl

    Love it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

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