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Lanie is the first book about Lanie Holland. It was included with the doll when she was available; it is now available separately.

Characters

See Also: Minor Characters in Lanie's Stories

Chapter By Chapter Summary

Chapter One: The Bunny Experiment

It is Friday, and Lanie is running home from school so fast that her younger sister Emily cannot keep up with her. Lanie is excited to start her "best-ever" scientific experiment. Their mother looks up from her desk as they enter; before she can greet them, Emily says that Stripey--the first grade class caterpillar--munched on milkweed leaves. Lanie knows about this because she is the fourth-grade helper for the class, and brings the milkweed for the caterpillars. Mom asks Emily is she was brave enough to watch Stripey and Emily says no, but that Lanie told her about it and that he was munching something else. Lanie says it was his skin, as she does not want Emily to tell everything.

Dad looks in from the kitchen and asks if the girls are ready for their Friday snack. The two look at each other--their father has experimented in the past and while the snacks are sometimes delicious, sometimes they are not. The snack is homemade hummus on pita bread made to looks like pizza. Emily is going through a stubborn phase where she will only eat things that look like pizza, so Lanie and her father are running an experiment where they are trying to get Emily to eat other foods by making them resemble pizzas (flat, round, with "sauce" and food for "toppings") and calling them "pizzas." The only one that didn't succeed was the teriyaki chicken and rice. Emily is also entomophobic (scared of bugs) since finding a spider in the sink while brushing her teeth. Even though it's spring and the weather is becoming nice, Emily will not go out to play because of this fear. Lanie wouldn't normally care but her best friend Dakota is gone and so Emily is her only playmate. Lanie feels that she is the only person in her family with "outdoor genes" as the rest of the family does not enjoy the outdoors as much as her. She believes that there was a gene mismatch while she was "gestating" in her mother. Lanie learned about gestation while her friend Dakota's lop-eared rabbit was pregnant as the thirty-one days felt very long to her. Lanie’s pet rabbit, Lulu, was one of the babies Dakota’s lop-eared rabbit gave birth to. Lanie thinks about how she was worth the wait. Lulu is also a part of Lanie’s scientific experiment.

Lanie finishes her snack and goes upstairs and lets Lulu out of her pen and gets her walking vest. Not all rabbits like walks but Lanie had decided to conduct an experiment with Lulu. First step was to let Lulu sniff Lanie, explore, and eat food so she would be more comfortable with Lanie. The second step was once Lulu trusted her, she was to put the walking vest on her a few minutes a day, gradually increasing the time she wore it. The third step was to attach the leash and walk around her bedroom so her and Lulu could get more comfortable. The fourth step was to take Lulu outside in her vest and leash. It was Lulu’s first time outside and she was excited and jumped into the air. Lanie determined that Lulu must have outside genes like her.

Lanie buckled Lulu inter her harness and put her into the “bunny elevator”. Lanie’s mother is an architect and added several small appliances to make life in a three-story house easier. Lanie’s mother installed a dumbwaiter made of recycled plywood in the open space in the staircase. Lanie presses the button to activate the “bunny elevator” and runs downstairs to meet Lulu. Lanie picks up Lulu and they go onto the front porch. Lulu hops down the front and to the sidewalk. 

Lanie explains that a rabbit won’t follow you on the walk rather you follow them. As Lanie and Lulu walked down the street several neighbors would stop to look. A nanny pushing twins pulled her stroller to the side, the children fascinated to see Lulu try to eat the greenery. Professor Kosko, one of Lanie’s neighbors, made a comment that Lulu’s vest was like Peter Rabbit’s. Lanie is disappointed Lulu can never have those adventures because there are no vegetable gardens on her street for Lulu to run around. Lanie and Lulu make it to the end of the street and turn around. Lanie is very pleased with the outcome of her experiment and starts to daydream about being an animal scientist.

Lanie notices an orange cat sitting in her neighbor’s driveway. The cat is staring and hissing at Lulu. Lulu charges the cat and Lanie drops the leash in surprise. Lanie tries to grab Lulu’s leash when the neighbor comes running out of the house yelling at Lanie to control her rabbit. Lanie picks Lulu up who is trembling and buries her head into the crook of Lanie’s arm. The neighbor introduces herself as Ms. Marshall. Lanie introduces herself. Ms. Marshall asks Lanie how often she walks her rabbit. Lanie explains that it’s the first time Lulu has been taken on a walk. Ms. Marshall suggests that she never walk Lulu again and her cat, Creaser, is traumatized enough from moving and doesn’t need to be attacked by a rodent. Lanie corrects Ms. Marshall that Lulu isn’t a rodent and a lagomorph. Ms. Marshall is unimpressed and walks back inside, her heals clicking on the driveway. 

Chapter Two: Kentucky Cave Shrimp

Lanie is the first one awake most of the time. Since Lanie’s room is at the top of the steps she can hear everyone. She’ll usually lie in bed pretending she is wildlife tracker. Lanie beings to count and gets to three when she hears a cello. Lanie’s sixteen-year-old sister, Angela, wants to be a concert cellist and would practice the piece William Tell Overture first thing every morning. Lanie use to like the piece but after hearing it so many times she was getting annoyed. Lanie hears her mom cooking breakfast in the kitchen. Lanie then heard her father on the back deck with his paddle ball. Lanie’s dad claimed that the repetition helped him think. Lanie’s father is a philosophy professor at the college. He would say that Lanie’s mother was the one who worked to pay the mortgage while he worked to pay for fun things. Lanie’s dad’s other hobby was to cook. Lanie is frustrated that the only time her father goes outside is play with his paddle ball. Lanie gets out of bed and checks on Lulu, who wiggles her nose at Lanie.

Lanie thinks about how her family would rather stay indoors until they are as pale as Kentucky cave shrimp. Dakota and Lanie had been best friends since kindergarten. They were very excited for fourth grade as both girls were naturally explorers and were excited about what was to happen during the following school year. Dakota and Lanie dreamed of being wildlife biologists when they grew up and would often fantasize about what it would be like. Halfway though the school year, Dakota moved to Indonesia. Dakota’s father was a forestry professor and wanted to study the rainforests in Indonesia. Lanie’s mom reminds her that Dakota and her family will be back in six months, just in time for summer.

Lanie and Dakota would communicate though e-mail. Dakota’s first e-mails described Dakota’s new school, which was small, the big swimming pool by her home, and her friends in Indonesia. Lanie had been writing to Dakota about Stripey and his excessive consumption of milkweed. Milkweed is poisonous to many animals. As monarch butterflies eat nothing but milkweed this makes them taste very bitter and toxic to many animals. Lanie is somewhat optimistic about being able to tell Dakota the interesting events of yesterday.

Lanie turns on her laptop and sees a new e-mail. The subject of Dakota’s e-mail was “Wait till you hear this!”. Dakota’s school was close to a rain forest with an orangutan conversation center. The center would nurse injured or orphaned orangutans back to health. Dakota’s class got to go on a tour of the center, and they return next week to volunteer. Dakota was excited about the opportunity.

Lanie’s teacher,`Mr. James, would tell his students to focus on their thoughts and to think about them when they are feeling uncertain about something. Lanie closes her eyes and tries to focus on her thoughts. She realizes what she feels wasn’t excitement for Dakota but envy towards her.

Lanie’s mother triggers the intercom in Lanie’s room. Lanie’s mother added the intercom as another convivence. Lanie’s mother is the only one who really uses it. Lanie’s mother tells her that the pancakes are ready, and she has some news. Lanie has had more than enough exciting news for the day. She switches off her laptop and gets dressed. Downstairs at the table Lanie’s mother tells the family that Aunt Hanna is coming to visit. Emily jumps up and down and claps, Lanie even cheers. Aunt Hanna is Lanie’s mother’s younger sister. Aunt Hannah has gone on many adventures such as climbing trees in Hawaii to study birds. Lanie wants to have adventures like her aunt someday.`

Lanie’s mother gets serious and tells Emily to stop jumping and to get the shopping list and asks Angela to do the dishes after breakfast as Lanie’s mother needs to make up the guest room by dinnertime. Lanie’s dad stands and declares that he will be making Australian ginger fish for dinner. He asks Lanie to help him with the shopping. Lanie grabs the reusable cloth shopping bag and tells him she’s ready. Emily asks to come. Lanie tries to tell her father telepathically not to let Emily come. Lanie doesn’t want her to come because Emily like to look at everything in the store. Lanie thanks her father in her mind and goes to the car. Lanie’s father makes a comment about the lawn needing to be mowed again. Her dad makes a comment about people complaining about Boston winters but doesn’t miss mowing the lawn. Lanie tells her father that the lawn will look bad if he doesn’t. She asks him if he likes the smell of fresh cut grass. Lanie’s father says if he has time before Aunt Hanna arrives, he’ll mow it.

Lanie’s dad tells her to get mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Lanie closes her eyes and smells her way to the cheese counter. Mr. James told the class that most animals will use their sense of smell to guide them to food, water, friends, and enemies. Lanie continues to smell her way to the cheese counter, getting caught up in a day dream when a little boy asks Lanie what she’s doing. Lanie opens her eyes, tries to explain but tells the little boy “never mind” and gets what she needs from the cheese counter and returns to her father.

Lanie’s father gets in the checkout line and her that they’ll be going to the Spice Route next. Lanie is feeling a little upset. Her father expects her to be happier about going to the Spice Rack with its exotic aromas and bring music and décor. Lanie felt it wasn’t anything compared to saving orangutans in Indonesia.

Lanie’s dad asks Lanie if she is ok, snapping Lanie out of her thoughts. Lanie’s dad tells Lanie he’s going to activate his telepathic mind reading mental powers. He says that he sees a fourth grader with green hair. He then corrects himself with green eyes. He sees a girl who is lonely because her best friend is away on an adventure. He gives Lanie a hug. Lanie may live with “Kentucky Cave shrimp” but she doesn’t have to be one and is going on her own adventure.

Chapter Three: Outnumbered

Lanie eats lunch and sends an e-mail to Dakota. Lanie writes about Lulu and her interaction with Felis domesticus. Lanie and Dakota use the scientific terms for animals when they talk to sound like real scientists.

Lanie felt it was a nice enough day to bring Lulu outside. Lanie finishes on her laptop and brings Lulu onto the deck. Each bedroom has a private deck constructed from planks made from recycled milk jugs. Lanie sits down in her hanging chair and writes in her private notebook. 

Lanie eats lunch and sends an e-mail to Dakota. Lanie writes about Lulu and her interaction with Felis domesticus. Lanie and Dakota use the scientific terms for animals when they talk to sound like real scientists.

Lanie felt it was a nice enough day to bring Lulu outside. Lanie finishes on her laptop and brings Lulu onto the deck. Each bedroom has a private deck constructed from planks made from recycled milk jugs. Lanie sits down in her hanging chair and writes in her private notebook. 

Real Adventures!

Step One:

Convince Mom & Dad to take us camping

Lanie thinks that her Aunt Hannah could help convince her parents when Aunt Hannah pulls into the driveway. Lanie waves to Aunt Hannah and notices her aunt had a camper attached to her car. Lanie called out and her aunt looked up smiling and gave Lanie a thumbs-up. 

Emily opens the side door and runs to Aunt Hannah. Emily asks if that’s where she’s been living. Before Aunt Hannah could give an answer, Emily tells her that Mr. Holland made fish and pizza. Angela greets Aunt Hannah from her balcony. Lanie’s dad calls out to Aunt Hannah she has good timing as dinner was about to be ready.

Lanie is excited to tell her family about step one of her Real Adventure plan. Lanie puts Lulu back in her pen and goes downstairs to see her aunt. When Aunt Hannah saw Lanie she told her to come give her a hug. Lanie obliges and gives a hug to her aunt. Emily comes over and asks Aunt Hannah is she likes broccoli as Mr. Holland put broccoli on the pizza and that’s the only way Emily will eat it. Lanie’s dad declares dinner is ready and the group sits down, except for Angela. Lanie’s mom asks Angela if she would like to play her cello after dinner. Angela wanted to play dinner music during dinner.

After eating, Mr. Holland hands Lanie a bar of chocolate and tells everyone it’s time for dessert. Lanie holds up the chocolate bar and tells her family that the beans came from Mexico. She points to the back of the wrapper and shows them the map which shows all the places the beans went from Mexico to Missouri where the chocolate was made. A person could also go to the website to track the cocoa bean’s travels. Lanie tells her family if cocoa beans can go on an adventure that her family could go on their own as well and suggests a family camping trip.

Aunt Hannah smiles and tells Lanie she thinks it’s a good idea. Angela plays a low note on the cello and disagrees. Emily chimes in saying she thinks it’s a good idea too. Angela tells Emily that you can’t cook pizza while camping and there are bugs.

Angela tells Lanie that when she was younger the family went on a camping trip or a camping fiasco at Sherwood Forest. Mrs. Holland makes a joke that she sure wouldn’t go back to the forest. Angela continues her story telling Lanie that ants got into the cereal and had to lock the garbage so the animals wouldn’t get into it. Mrs. Holland couldn’t put the rain fly up for the tent, so the family got soaked that night. Lanie had no memory of the event and asked when the trip happened. Angela told her it was Lanie was an infant. Lanie was frustrated that she went camping once and wasn’t even old enough to remember it.

Mrs. Holland reminds the family of another trip that Mr. Holland broke his ankle. Mrs. Holland joked that Mr. Holland broke both his ankle and the bank with the medical helicopter transport. Angela tells Lanie that camping isn’t the family’s thing. Lanie tells the family that now that Aunt Hannah has a camper it would be perfect for camping. Aunt Hannah agrees with Lanie but since the family doesn’t like camping, but they were outvoted by the family. 

Aunt Hannah announces to the family that she’s moving back to Boston to go to school. Angela tells Aunt Hannah she’s too old to go to school. Aunt Hannah tells Angela that no one is ever too old to go back to school to learn more about stuff they love. Aunt Hannah tells the family she’s getting permission to park her camper in the driveway for the summer. It will serve both as her homing and her laboratory during the summer until campus housing opens in the fall. Aunt Hannah tells the family she’ll take care of yardwork and take the girls on adventures.

Everyone begins to talk over each other. Lanie clears her place at the table and goes to her room. Lanie thinks how she should be happy to have her Aunt Hannah stay for the summer. Lanie is upset because her family doesn’t have the outdoor genes that both her and her aunt share, and her family doesn’t. Lanie decides to e-mail Dakota the news.

Lanie opens her e-mail and see she’s received and e-mail from Dakota. Dakota is surprised that Lulu attacked the cat and went for a walk. Dakota tells Lanie about her visit to the orangutan sanctuary. Her class had to write about what they observed. Fio, an orphaned orangutan, was moved to a cage with bigger orangutans. The bigger orangutans kept pulling Fio’s hair and baring their teeth at her. Eventually the sanctuary staff moved Fio back into her own cage. Dakota attached a picture of herself smiling outside the cage next to Fio.

Lanie feels bad for Fio and wishes she could help her. Lanie feels envious that Dakota gets to study and help the creatures in the rainforests in Indonesia.

Lanie thinks that her Aunt Hannah could help convince her parents when Aunt Hannah pulls into the driveway. Lanie waves to Aunt Hannah and notices her aunt had a camper attached to her car. Lanie called out and her aunt looked up smiling and gave Lanie a thumbs-up. 

Emily opens the side door and runs to Aunt Hannah. Emily asks if that’s where she’s been living. Before Aunt Hannah could give an answer, Emily tells her that Mr. Holland made fish and pizza. Angela greets Aunt Hannah from her balcony. Lanie’s dad calls out to Aunt Hannah she has good timing as dinner was about to be ready.

Lanie is excited to tell her family about step one of her Real Adventure plan. Lanie puts Lulu back in her pen and goes downstairs to see her aunt. When Aunt Hannah saw Lanie she told her to come give her a hug. Lanie obliges and gives a hug to her aunt. Emily comes over and asks Aunt Hannah is she likes broccoli as Mr. Holland put broccoli on the pizza and that’s the only way Emily will eat it. Lanie’s dad declares dinner is ready and the group sits down, except for Angela. Lanie’s mom asks Angela if she would like to play her cello after dinner. Angela wanted to play dinner music during dinner.

After eating, Mr. Holland hands Lanie a bar of chocolate and tells everyone it’s time for dessert. Lanie holds up the chocolate bar and tells her family that the beans came from Mexico. She points to the back of the wrapper and shows them the map which shows all the places the beans went from Mexico to Missouri where the chocolate was made. A person could also go to the website to track the cocoa bean’s travels. Lanie tells her family if cocoa beans can go on an adventure that her family could go on their own as well and suggests a family camping trip.

Aunt Hannah smiles and tells Lanie she thinks it’s a good idea. Angela plays a low note on the cello and disagrees. Emily chimes in saying she thinks it’s a good idea too. Angela tells Emily that you can’t cook pizza while camping and there are bugs.

Angela tells Lanie that when she was younger the family went on a camping trip or a camping fiasco at Sherwood Forest. Mrs. Holland makes a joke that she sure wouldn’t go back to the forest. Angela continues her story telling Lanie that ants got into the cereal and had to lock the garbage so the animals wouldn’t get into it. Mrs. Holland couldn’t put the rain fly up for the tent, so the family got soaked that night. Lanie had no memory of the event and asked when the trip happened. Angela told her it was Lanie was an infant. Lanie was frustrated that she went camping once and wasn’t even old enough to remember it.

Mrs. Holland reminds the family of another trip that Mr. Holland broke his ankle. Mrs. Holland joked that Mr. Holland broke both his ankle and the bank with the medical helicopter transport. Angela tells Lanie that camping isn’t the family’s thing. Lanie tells the family that now that Aunt Hannah has a camper it would be perfect for camping. Aunt Hannah agrees with Lanie but since the family doesn’t like camping, but they were outvoted by the family. 

Aunt Hannah announces to the family that she’s moving back to Boston to go to school. Angela tells Aunt Hannah she’s too old to go to school. Aunt Hannah tells Angela that no one is ever too old to go back to school to learn more about stuff they love. Aunt Hannah tells the family she’s getting permission to park her camper in the driveway for the summer. It will serve both as her homing and her laboratory during the summer until campus housing opens in the fall. Aunt Hannah tells the family she’ll take care of yardwork and take the girls on adventures.

Everyone begins to talk over each other. Lanie clears her place at the table and goes to her room. Lanie thinks how she should be happy to have her Aunt Hannah stay for the summer. Lanie is upset because her family doesn’t have the outdoor genes that both her and her aunt share, and her family doesn’t. Lanie decides to e-mail Dakota the news.

Lanie opens her e-mail and see she’s received and e-mail from Dakota. Dakota is surprised that Lulu attacked the cat and went for a walk. Dakota tells Lanie about her visit to the orangutan sanctuary. Her class had to write about what they observed. Fio, an orphaned orangutan, was moved to a cage with bigger orangutans. The bigger orangutans kept pulling Fio’s hair and baring their teeth at her. Eventually the sanctuary staff moved Fio back into her own cage. Dakota attached a picture of herself smiling outside the cage next to Fio.

Lanie feels bad for Fio and wishes she could help her. Lanie feels envious that Dakota gets to study and help the creatures in the rainforests in Indonesia.

Chapter Four: Field Notes

Monday morning Lanie went to Emily’s classroom to feed Stripey more milkweed. Lanie observes Stripey noticing he hasn’t changed much aside from possibly getting a little bigger. Lanie thinks about how Stripey isn’t nearly as cute as Fio.

Lanie goes to Mr. James classroom and began to read a book about Jane Goodwell before class. When Jane was a little girl her parent’s had called the police because they thought Jane went missing. Jane was in the henhouse trying to understand how the hens laid their eggs. She was also studying chimpanzees but didn’t have any training so Jane was writing down everything she saw.

Lanie and Dakota planned to be wildlife researchers together, now Dakota was starting without Lanie. Lanie thinks about how she should start taking notes for practice. Mr. James had shown the class a video of scientist observing meerkats. The scientist were coming up with theories of why animals play. Lanie thought about the meerkats climbing up on the scientist shoulders looking around. Lanie takes out a pencil and decides to study her class, even though they aren’t nearly as interesting to her.

The rest of the class and teachers enter the classroom when the bell rings. One of Lanie’s classmates, Noah, tells another, Max, about almost catching a ball at the Red Sox game on Saturday. Max dismisses Noah. Lanie makes notes that fourth-grade boys are loud, brag, and shove each other. 

Every Monday the class can write about anything they wish in their scientific journals. Lanie sees her classmate, Jeremy, is falling asleep. Lanie begins to draw a sleepy meercat that looked like Jeremy. Kira turns around and compliments Lanie’s drawing. Lanie shrugs thinking about how observing orangutans is more fun than drawing her classmates as meercats. Kira told Lanie that Mr. James was coming and to write. Lanie begins a new entry thinking about how Kira would make a good meerkat.

On Tuesday Lanie went to Emily’s class since she was their fourth-grade class helper that day. When Lanie gets there Emily tells Lanie the caterpillars are hanging. Lanie rushes over to look. Lanie thinks about how Dakota would’ve reacted.

Lanie was supposed to be helping the first graders with their math but the class was too excited. Lanie beckons Emily to come look. Emily asks Lanie if Stripey is hanging. Lanie couldn’t tell but was certain he was one of the first to turn into a pupa. Lanie tells Emily to look as this will be the last time she’d be able to see him as a caterpillar. Emily stands several feet away and Lanie points Stripey out. The caterpillars were wiggling around shedding their bright green coverings called chrysalis. Emily asks how long before they turn into butterflies. Mrs. Kaminsky answers that’ll be two weeks. Lanie asks the teacher if she could get her science journal to take notes.

Lanie and Emily go to Aunt Hannah’s camper after school. Aunt Hannah’s camper was like a regular house but compact. Emily told Aunt Hannah that the caterpillars have hung themselves and Mrs. Kaminsky said they will be turning into pupils soon and the class should keep their observing eyes out. Lanie corrects Emily that they will be turning into pupas and observing isn’t a word. Lanie handed Aunt Hannah her journal for feedback but a bit embarrassed about that the quality. Emily read Lanie’s journal aloud behind of Aunt Hannah’s shoulder.

Aunt Hannah compliments Lanie on her drawings and her notes. Emily tells Aunt Hannah that the caterpillars were in her classroom and she’d see them transform into butterflies first. Emily takes the journal out of Aunt Hannah’s hand and asks if she could help Lanie. Lanie gets frustrated and threatens Emily that she won’t be able to help if she doesn’t give Lanie back her journal. Aunt Hannah offers to give Emily an empty journal. Lanie attempts to get the journal out of Emily’s hand and Emily smears one of Lanie’s sketches inside. Emily begins to cry and runs out of Aunt Hannah’s camper.

Lanie thinks back to what her mom would say when Emily would frustrate her. Mrs. Holland would tell Lanie to share because it wasn’t easy being the youngest. Mrs. Holland told Lanie to ask her Aunt Hannah about it. Aunt Hannah told Lanie that little sisters are difficult she should know as she was the younger sister. Lanie and Aunt Hannah go outside. Lanie sees a pile of dirt in the driveway. Aunt Hannah explains she had it delivered today, and she thought they could start a garden.

Lanie sees Caesar in the yard next door. Lanie looks on the back porch and sees several little boxes with spikey branches sticking out of them. Emily tugs on Lanie’s hand to show her a picture of Stripey she drew and asked if she could draw in Lanie’s journal. Lanie said she could draw with a box of crayons Lanie had if Emily was careful. Emily asks if she could draw on the porch outside with them and Lanie agreed thinking perhaps she could get one of her family members outside. Emily asked if there were bugs. Lanie told her most likely but they won’t hurt her. Emily no longer wanted to stay outside. Lanie was content being outside alone with Aunt Hannah.

Chapter Five: The Garden

Lanie and Aunt Hannah staked out the garden and worked the land. Aunt Hannah asked if Lanie knew that Massachusetts had a state soil. Lanie knew the state flower, bird, and reptile. Lanie didn’t know soils had names. Aunt Hannah told her that the state soil was Paxton. Mrs. Holland and Emily came out onto the porch. Mrs. Holland makes a comment that the garden is bigger than what she expected and that it’ll be a lot of work. Lanie quickly replied she’d help. Aunt Hannah replied to Mrs. Holland that it would be worth it to eat home grown tomatoes. Mrs. Holland replied that it would be and it wouldn’t be too hard to turn the garden back into lawn if the garden failed. Mrs. Holland and Emily went inside to make dinner.

A bird whistled in a distant tree. Aunt Hannah said she didn’t know there were whip-poor-wills there. Lanie was impressed that her aunt could recognize a bird by the noises the would make. Aunt Hannah studied bird songs and offered to teach Lanie about them. Aunt Hannah tells Lanie that they did enough work and tomorrow they will start a compost pile and set up a rain barrel. Lanie asks when they will plant seeds. Aunt Hannah replied that she’ll buy seeds tomorrow while Lanie is in school.

For dinner the family had spaghetti pizza pie. Lanie explains that you’d cook the pasta and spread it in a pie pan the add sauce, cheese, and toppings. That night, Mr. Holland put kidney beans as one of the toppings. Lanie looked at Angela who was playing with a kidney bean with her fork. Lanie looked at Emily happily eating and was pleased that Emily was eating.

After dinner Lanie and Aunt Hannah went outside. Lanie compared the soil to a shopping mall for plants as the roots go their for all their nutritional needs. Lanie asks Aunt Hannah where dirt comes from. Aunt Hannah answers that most of the dirt in New England came from glaciers. It became dark and stars began to appear in the sky. Aunt Hannah tells Lanie that one of her astronomer friends told her that there a line of dust in the Milky Way and that some elements found on Earth came from exploding stars. Lanie asks if they had been digging in star dusk. Aunt Hannah replied saying it was a possibility. Lanie e-mailed Dakota that night telling her about the garden her and Aunt Hannah started. Lanie wrote that there were many creatures that live in the dirt.

Lanie woke up early the next morning to look at the garden. They are small paw prints in the dirt. The squirrels had eaten most of the sunflower and pea seeds as well as digging up the garden on their pursuit for more. Lanie is disappointed and thinks about how the cat next door was useless for not chasing the squirrels. Lanie thinks about how ordinary the lawn was before the garden. Lanie was upset that the squirrels ruined something so special to her.

Aunt Hannah comes out of her camper and heads to Lanie. Aunt Hannah makes a comment about the squirrels getting to the yard. Lanie tells Aunt Hannah that they’d just fatten the squirrels who were nothing more than trespassing thieves. Aunt Hannah explains to Lanie that the squirrels were there before the people and that humans were the intruders. The squirrels were just trying to get some food for themselves and they will just have to outsmart the squirrels. 

After school Lanie and Emily go to the garden. Aunt Hannah is there with several trays and pots with plans. Aunt Hannah explains that she got the plants to give the garden a head start. Aunt Hannah holds up a bottle of pepper spray explaining that it was to deter the squirrels from going into the garden. Lanie asks if it would hurt the squirrels. Aunt Hannah explains that it won’t and shows the girls something else she got for the squirrels. The contraption was an open wheel with spokes that held dried corncobs. Aunt Hannah explains that the squirrels would rather eat the dried corn cobs. The family nailed the squirrel feeder to the fence. Lanie and Aunt Hannah began to plant the plants. During a break Aunt Hannah showed Lanie a seed envelope. On the envelope was a field of wildflowers. Lanie asked if the yard will look like the field. Aunt Hannah explained that the buds would appear around July and late summer they will fully bloom. Aunt Hannah showed the girls seeds and explained that they’ll plant those to fill in gaps between the starter plants.

Aunt Hannah showed Lanie some milkweed. Lanie tried to not act disappointed and her aunt explained it was for the butterflies to feast on. Lanie asked if adult butterflies would eat the milkweed. Aunt Hannah explains that the adults only consume the nectar from flowers but they will lay their eggs on the milkweed. 

Lanie and Aunt Hannah spent the rest of the afternoon planting. They stopped around dinnertime because they ran out of room in the garden. Aunt Hannah declared that they needed to expand the garder to fit the rest of the plants. Aunt Hannah asked Lanie if Mr. Holland would be upset with tearing up more of the lawn, Lanie thought and replied that Mr. Holland would be happy with less lawn to mow.

Chapter Six: Here and Gone

Chapter Seven: Eruption

Chapter Eight: A Whole Bunch of Birds

Chapter Nine: Pizza

Chapter Ten: Wings

Letters

See Also

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