Billed as â€œfiction with a mission,” this well-written supernatural adventure unabashedly seeks to convert young readers to an ecologically green philosophy.
Ten-year-old Elizabeth lives on a thriving farm owned by her family since the 18th century. Remarkably attuned to nature, she learns why when she meets a talking otter that claims to be Gaia, the spirit of the Earth. Elizabeth has been chosen as one of four girls to receive powers that will enable her to fight to save Earth from the ravages of humans. She learns how to travel through trees, listen to the voices in the earth and even willfully move the earth. Her battle becomes personal as a corporation begins to buy up the whole area to build a massive and destructive pig farm. When her parents are unable to fight City Hall, Elizabeth realizes that she must use her new powers to save her home. The author’s easily accessible style fits her target audience well, creating sympathy for the protagonist by portraying common friendship difficulties experienced by young girls. Suspense builds as Elizabeth’s parents fail in their fight, and Elizabeth battles the forces of bureaucracy. Welles deftly handles the increasing tension while delivering her consistent and persuasive message, presenting an interesting, exciting story. Includes a CD, as well as a puzzle within the chapter illustrations to further engage readers.
We eagerly await the next installment in this planned series. (Fiction. 9-13)