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"Searching for Candlestick Park," by Peg Kehret; Cobblehill Books, 149 pages, $14.99.

Twelve-year-old Spencer Atwood and his mother have to leave their Seattle home in the middle of the night and move in with crabby Aunt May because they can't afford the rent.

Not only is Aunt May crabby, she demands that Spencer get rid of his beloved cat, Foxey.

So Spencer decides to run away from home to find his father at Candlestick Park. (He knows his father works for the San Francisco Giants baseball team, though he hasn't seen him in a while.)

So how will a cat and a boy travel a couple hundred miles with less than $20?

Peg Kehret, the author of several mysteries for young readers, manages to spin a very suspenseful survival adventure out of Spencer's quest to get to Candlestick Park.

The gritty details of grubbing for food and sleeping outside carry the story along as Spencer has one bad break after another (getting robbed, falling off his bike, losing Foxey up a tree). Also, Spencer is a vegetarian, which poses problems when you're grabbing people's leftovers off trays at McDonald's.

The fairy godmother ending comes as a real surprise, but doesn't spoil the fun.
-- Jean Westmoore


The ghosts have returned to Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown just in time for Halloween.

At "Historic Hauntings," visitors are guided through the darkened fortress where they will come face to face with spirits from the past. The only light inside the ancient stone building will be a few candles and lanterns.

This is pretty spooky stuff, and kids under 8 are not encouraged to try it. All kids under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Tickets ($6 for adults, $4 for kids up to 12) are sold in advance for these dates: Friday and Saturday this week, Oct. 24 to 26, and Nov. 1. Hauntings take place between 7 and 10 p.m. Have an adult call 745-7611 to order tickets with a credit card.


Are you pals for life? Show it with a friendship bracelet:

You'll find everything you need to know, and the supplies to do it, in "Friendship Bracelets" by Laura Torres (Klutz, $15 at bookstores). It comes with enough floss for 12 bracelets and a clip and board for securing works in progress. But best of all, every killer pattern you can imagine is explained in the book.

Get a little more glamorous with the Glitter Friendship Bracelets Activity Fun Pack (Henderson, $6 at bookstores). It includes metallic floss, a book with instructions for 10 dazzling projects and three pop-out cardboard gift boxes.

Have every color of the rainbow at your fingertips with these 36-skein Embroidery Floss sets (Designs for the Needle, about $6 each at Wal-Mart or local craft stores). Best of all, the skeins come two ways (plain or variegated, which is the version that looks like it was tie-dyed).


Have a goofy question? Write to this research firm:

Ask a Silly Question

P.O. Box 1950

Hollywood, Calif. 90078

Q. Are elephants really afraid of mice?

A. Nope. Often the truth is surprising, but not in this case. Elephants have even been seen picking up a mouse, checking it out, then stomping on it. But one researcher did find that the heaviest land animal gets jittery around dachshunds.

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