Lanie is an "outside" girl who is stuck with an "inside" family. She longs to go camping, explore the outdoors, and have real adventures, but no one else in her family is interested. To make matters worse, Lanie's best friend is far away and living out their dreams of becoming wildlife biologists---without her! When Lanie's aunt comes to stay with them, Lanie finds a kindred spirit and embarks on an exciting project--planting a wild garden---but she faces competition with her younger sister Emily for their aunt's attention. Then her aunt leaves, and Lanie again feels alone & abandoned once again. Gradually, after a blowup with her younger sister, she finds support for her interests where she least expects it--within her own family. Likewise, she discovers the beauty and wonder of nature where she didn't expect to find it--right in her own backyard.
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Ten-year-old Lanie loves science and nature, but she has a problem: she's an "outside" girl with an "inside" family. She longs get out and go camping, but they all want to stay home. It wouldn't be so bad if her best friend was around, but she's halfway around the world, living out their dream of studying wildlife. Lanie feels she never gets to have any adventures-anywhere. But when her favorite aunt comes to stay, Lanie discovers that the wonders of nature are everywhere-even in her own backyard.From School Library Journal:
Grade 3-5 In the first book, 10-year-old Lanie loves the outdoors, especially when she's exploring wildlife and recording facts in her science journal. She's always done the experiments with her friend, but now Dakota is in an Indonesian rainforest for six months, having real scientific adventures. Feeling envious, Lanie takes advantage of an unexpected visit by her outdoorsy aunt to convince her indoor genes family to go camping. She's turned down, however, because of her younger sister's fear of bugs, her older sister's compulsion to become a concert cellist, and her parents' fear of repeating previous camping disasters. In Real Adventures, life is looking up. Lanie gets to go on the camping trip, her garden is starting to bloom and attract butterflies, and Dakota should be home soon. Problems arise, however, when a neighbor doesn't use environmentally friendly gardening methods. Lanie is worried that the pesticides will hurt the butterflies and she comes up with alternate pest-control methods and implements them herself. Kurtz's characters are well developed, and the situations the protagonist faces are realistic. Colorful illustrations in various media depict the characters and Lanie's science-journal entries. Interesting animal facts add dimension without overpowering the stories, and closing nonfiction sections answer environmental questions (Lanie) and provide stories of child environmentalists (Real Adventures). Fans of American Girl novels, realistic fiction, science, and adventure will enjoy these books. Kira Moody, Hunter Public Library, West Valley City, UT
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