Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Gaia Girls: Enter the Earth

Gaia Girls: Enter the Earth

Lee Welles
Illustrator:  Ann Hameister 
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Chelsea Green Publishing, 2006   ISBN: 1933609001

Elizabeth is not your typical preteen girl. For one thing she lives on a working farm in the country and she loves it. In fact Elizabeth cannot imagine living anywhere else and she has a very close and vital connection with the trees and natural places on the farm. Elizabeth is particularly excited these days for school will soon be over for the summer and she is looking forward to weeks of swimming in the creek, spending time with her best friend Rachel, and helping her parents out on the farm.

Everything is going along smoothly when Elizabeth starts to hear her parents talking about a large farm corporation called Harmony Farms which is buying up land in their valley. It would seem that Harmony Farms does not run their business the way Elizabeth’s parents do. Instead they poison the air, the soil and the water, they treat their livestock with great cruelty and their bottom line is always money. The very idea that such a place may soon be right next door appalls Elizabeth and her parents but they don’t know what can be done to stop this powerful corporation from doing exactly what it wants.

Then Elizabeth’s life gets even more complicated when she meets a talking otter which calls itself Gaia. Apparently the otter is none other than a representation of Mother Earth herself. Gaia is there to explain to Elizabeth that the Earth is not an amalgam of dead rock. Instead she alive and in a sense she is fluid. She is connected to the trees and the plants, to the animals, the air and the water. Furthermore Gaia is in trouble because of the things that humans are doing to her. The situation is so dire that Gaia needs Elizabeth’s help. Elizabeth has an affinity for the trees and the earth and with Gaia’s help Elizabeth can take this affinity and use it to help Gaia battle against those who wish to harm her.

So, with Gaia’s help and with the help of others, Elizabeth sets about trying to do what she can to stop Harmony Farms from setting up yet another factory farm which will pollute the environment and torment countless helpless animals.

This is the first book in a very engaging and thought provoking new series which explores the idea that the earth is a living breathing organism. If you think about our planet in this way you come to realize that everything we do affects our environment and that we are not set apart from it. Elizabeth is able, through special powers, to communicate with trees, to move earth, and to understand the songs and the rhythms of nature. The author’s descriptions of Elizabeth’s magical experiences with nature are so special that many readers may find themselves envying her her abilities and her connections with the natural world around her.

In a time when more and more of the natural world in being destroyed around us, this book’s refreshing message of hope and its gentle call to action is sure to appeal to young environmentalists of all ages.

Readers of this book may like to visit the Gaia Girls website.