SOMETHING TO READ
"Second Sight, Stories for a New Millennium"; Philomel Books, $14.99, 122 pages.
By the time Dec. 31, 1999, rolls around, you may well be Millenniumed out, but it's still worth taking a look at this collection of short stories by some of the best young adult authors around.
Avi gets things off to a fine start with "Oswin's Millennium," a 1,000-year trip back in time to an orphan stablehand and his fears about Brother Godwin's horrifying predictions about the imminent end of the world.
Janet Taylor Lisle offers a mysterious tale of a young girl's awakening inside a pyramid in Mexico in "The Beginning of Time." Madeleine L'Engle offers a disappointing story, a play on words using her beloved Austin family, in "Rob Austin and the Millennium Bug." Michael Cadnum offers his usual gloomy weird fare in "Horizon," a young girl's reunion with her ex-con father.
Among the best is Nancy Springer's "I Believe?", in which cynical deejay Mike Satanik finds the meaning of life while taking hysterical phone calls from needy people during his show on the top 100 hits of the millennium. Also wonderful is Natalie Babbitt's story, "Tomorrow," about eccentric Mr. Rummage and his desperate attempts to climb high enough to watch tomorrow arrive and gauge its meaning for today. And Richard Peck offers an amusing finale with "The Three Century Woman," starring a 101-year-old woman who bamboozles the press during an interview.
-- Jean Westmoore
SOMETHING TO DO
Looking for something to do during winter break? This is your last chance to check out "Destination Space" at the Buffalo Museum of Science. Here's the assessment of Max Kennelley, a fifth-grader at Maplemere Elementary School: "The first thing I noticed was the anti-gravity simulator. They would strap your feet, then buckle you in tight. As I watched the volunteers spin in every direction, they seemed to be enjoying the ride. Next I had a chance to become a space reporter on Mars or the moon with the help of a broadcasting system. A man from NASA demonstrated the forces of a gyroscope by having people spin on a stool. Following that was a challenging electro-magnetic display where the object was to launch a rocket to ring a bell. It was very enjoyable and also educational. I recommend it to others." The exhibit's last day is Sunday.
Interested in archaeology? Check out Archaeology's Dig, a new magazine published by the Archaeological Institute of America targeting kids 8 to 13. It's got feature stories, puzzles, games, comics, contests and hands-on projects. For more information, check the Web site, www.dig.archaeology.org.
Q. Does an octopus have a nose?
A. No. Sharks and other fish do have noses that they use to smell. But octopuses are another kettle of, uh, mollusks. On their eight arms, they have two rows of suckers that help them grab and stick onto things. On these suckers are cells that sense chemicals.
These cells both "smell" what's in the water and "taste" what the tentacles touch. Weird -- it's as if your arms and legs had tongues and noses! So it's probably best if you don't invite one to a restaurant. Just imagine what it might do with the food.
When things go wrong, what can you always count on?
What's the difference between a lighthouse keeper, a thief and a pot of glue?
One watches over seas, one sizes watches. And the pot of glue? That's where you get stuck.
-- Knight Ridder