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Kidbits: For the younger set


“Zombie Baseball Beatdown” by Paolo Bacigalupi; Little Brown, $17.

Rabi doesn’t much like his terrible baseball coach Mr. Corcoran, who will never listen to his advice about batting order.

But Rabi likes the coach even less when the coach turns into a zombie, starts muttering “Brains” and attacking everyone.

The zombie apocalypse begins when Rabi and his friends Joe and Miguel are avoiding the bullies on their team by practicing at a field near Milrow Meats, a huge meatpacking plant and cattle feedlot. Suddenly a terrible stink comes from the plant and workers start running away. Will they escape the zombie cows? Will Milrow Meats package the meat into hamburger anyway and turn the whole town into zombies?

This hilarious and occasionally scary novel is great entertainment and also addresses serious issues, like employers exploiting undocumented aliens – the constant fear Mexican-American kids like Miguel live with all the time – and the way cattle being raised for food are treated. You do not want to be eating a burger while reading this book!

This is the first book for younger readers from an author who was highly praised for two Young Adult novels, “Ship Breaker” and “The Drowned Cities.”

– Jean Westmoore


The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, 180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda, is holding a Halloween Spooktacular from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday. The event will include games, crafts and treats, plus a magic show by Charlie and Checkers at 6 and 7 p.m. Cost is $6 per person (no coupons or passes). For more information, call 693-1885 or visit


In 1831, Charles Darwin set sail on the HMS Beagle as an unpaid botanist. The ship was on a British scientific expedition. In South America, Darwin found fossils of animals that were extinct but resembled modern species. In the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean, Darwin found many plants and animals of the same species that had different characteristics. These and other observations led Darwin to his theories about how life evolved over millions of years.

Time for Kids Big Book of Why

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