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*Gaia Girls: Enter the Earth* by Lee Welles- young adult book review
Also by Lee Welles:

Gaia Girls: Way of Water
Gaia Girls: Enter the Earth
by Lee Welles
Ages 9-12 336 pages Daisyworld Press April 2007 Paperback    

Elizabeth is excited about the upcoming summer vacation. Things have been changing during her fourth grade year, the girls in her class getting weird and spending recess giggling around Teen People instead of playing kickball, and her responsibilities at home are increasing. She can only watch an hour a week of TV, leaving her in the dark about many of the conversations the girls were having. Luckily, her best friend, Rachel, hasn’t “gone to the dark side,” doesn’t have a TV, and also lives on a farm near Elizabeth.

Nature fascinates Elizabeth. To Rachel and her, the world is their television set, and Elizabeth can’t wait to have more time for them to explore - until Elizabeth hears the worst news imaginable: her best friend is moving far away. Hurt and angry, Elizabeth runs from the conversation with her mother, runs until she finds herself safely at the base of The Scout, a great oak on a hilltop. Running out of tears, Elizabeth becomes aware of the sounds around her as she leans her cheek against the rough bark of the oak. She is suddenly curious when she hears a familiar but faint noise. As she presses her ear tighter to the oak, she begins to make out the voices of her parents. Confused and thinking it is just a result of being so upset, Elizabeth makes her way down the 600-foot path that separates them. She notices movement by the ravine, and soon a long, sleek creature is doing somersaults toward her and her dog, Maizey.

It’s an otter – and it is talking to Elizabeth about all the work they have to do together. Over the days that follow, Elizabeth learns about the impending threat to both her family’s home and the universal home of the earth. “Gaia girls” around the world are being summoned to save the planet, and Elizabeth has been called to save the creatures and systems of the ground below. Researching this “enemy”, she begins to learn about and connect with the earth below her feet. What is being asked of her is a large and overwhelming task; can she really save her home and, in doing so, the earth that surrounds her?

Gaia Girls: Enter the Earth is a fabulous story with a subtle but effective message. A rare find, this uplifting book is filled with messages of renewal and growth. While the message clearly revolves around the environmental importance of “saving the earth” and highlights the impact of chemicals and pollution, the message is gentle, a byproduct of a heartwarming story. While we all can’t rely on Gaia girl powers, we do have ways within our power to ensure the health of the earth. The earth, however, is not all we have to protect to maintain the health of our planet. To that end, there is good news. This is not the end for the Gaia girls; it is just the beginning.

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  Regan Windsor/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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