SOMETHING TO READ
Pond Scum by Alan Silberberg (Hyperion, $15.99) Ages 8 to 12.
Oliver is a lonely kid. He's also the kind of boy who enjoys pulling the wings off flies.
Weird things start happening to Oliver when his mother buys a rundown house in the woods near a pond. The crows and bugs seem to be guarding the pond -- and working together to drive Oliver and his family away.
When Oliver climbs up on the roof to put up the TV antenna, a weird accident turns up a strange yellow gem. Only later does he discover the gem's power -- and his life will never be the same.
Silberberg works magic in this interesting fantasy. It has humor, suspense and an upbeat message about friendship, between humans and all living things.
-- Jean Westmoore
VOTE FOR BOOKS!
Kids 8 to 14 are urged to vote for their three favorite books in this year's Kids Choice Book Awards of the Buffalo Alliance for Education. Go online to www.buffaloalliance.org/?option=com_kids_choice and pick from a long list that includes everything from Lemony Snicket titles to Louis Sachar's "Holes." Voting ends March 24.
NEXT BOOK CLUB
Join our book club! Read a great book and win a prize! The winter book is "The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963" by Christopher Paul Curtis. Read the book, write a review (150 words maximum) and e-mail it to email@example.com by Feb. 28. Or mail the review to: NeXt Book Club/Buffalo News/P.O. Box 100/Buffalo, N.Y. 14240. We'll print a few of the most interesting reviews in NeXt. Those who send reviews will be eligible for a random drawing for NeXt T-shirts and books.
SOMETHING TO DO
Niagara University presents "The Princess and the Pea" at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Theatre-at-the-Church, 415 Plain St., Lewiston. Tickets are $14, $12 for seniors and children 18 and younger. Call 852-5000.
A KNIGHT'S TALE
SpongeBob SquarePants travels back in time in "Lost in Time" airing at 8 p.m. Monday on Nickelodeon. SpongeBob and Patrick must rescue King Krabs' daughter Princess Pearl after a freak jousting accident at a medieval-theme restaurant sends him and Bikini Bottom backward hundreds of years.