The Sundown Rule by Wendy Townsend.
Namelos: South Hampton, NH, 2010.

Louise is a naturalist and wildlife caretaker in the making. She lives in the woods of Michigan with her dad, a writer of nature articles. She leaves the neighboring crows tidbits and observes from a distance as they feast. She's been known to care for injured animals, including operating on a heron which had its leg caught by a snapping turtle.

Her father has an opportunity for a blockbuster article, joining the crew on a rainforest expedition in Brazil. Unfortunately, it means leaving Louise behind. She goes to stay with her aunt and uncle in a suburban environment for the summer and even has to leave her cat behind. Louise finds a special, untouched spot just outside of the subdivision, and she makes a friend quickly enough, but certain events challenge her capacity for acceptance.

Townsend's love of nature shows through her descriptions of Louise's interaction and observance of nature. The story is complex and passionate for one so short, with several heartbreaks for Louise to bear. Townsend has characters learning from each other about different views of nature. But the very best parts are Louise's moments in nature. It is her habitat, and the author's detailing of it is natural and beautiful.

related-human/animal relationships, love of animals and nature, visiting extended family, observing wildlife, natural habitats

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