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KID BITS

SOMETHING TO READ

"Theo" by Barbara Harrison, Clarion; $15, 166 pages.

When the Nazis decree that all orphans in Greece must be rounded up, Theo and his older brother Socrates leave Athens and journey to a small village to join the resistance.

But then something terrible happens, and Theo is left alone with the village priest and his wife who are helping Jewish families escape the country. Theo has managed to bring along his shadow puppet Karagiozis, a trickster and favorite character in Greek puppet theater, and he decides to create a new play in which Karagiozis takes on Adolf Hitler.

Against the backdrop of the tragic events in Greece during World War II, a first-time author offers a powerful, unforgettable tale of one boy's shattering wartime experiences -- Theo's grief at losing loved ones and the fear that comes with bravery as he learns what it means to be a hero. Harrison also paints a vivid picture of the war-torn Greek countryside.

-- Jean Westmoore

SOMETHING TO DO

The Aquarium of Niagara, 701 Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls, now has two newly hatched penguin chicks in the Penguin Exhibit. Get the best look at them during feedings at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day. The penguins can also be adopted through the Aquarium's Aquaparent adoption program.

KONG, THE SEQUEL

There is a flood of lame 3-D adventure games being released, and most are so bad they're not even worth renting. But the revamped classic "Donkey Kong 64" ($60, N64) bucks the trend.

"Donkey Kong" leaps into the 3-D world with his pals Diddy Kong, Lanky Kong, Tiny Kong and Chunky Kong. Cranky, Funky and Candy also return to help fight the evil K. Rool.

"DK64" graphics push the limits of the N64 console. The game comes with a memory expansion pack that dramatically improves its looks. As good as the graphics are, the controls are better. Gamers will be delighted by how easy it is to control the Kongs as they swim, climb and swing their way through each level. Anyone who has an N64 console will want to own this game. It makes a good rental, though in a weekend you'll only scratch the surface of this huge game.

EEEK!

He's a she: Actor Jonathan Lipnicki's love for mice doesn't stop with Stuart Little. Lipnicki, 9, plays Stuart's brother George in the film "Stuart Little." While filming "Little," the film's director gave Lipnicki a real mouse to keep, reports Time For Kids. Lipnicki named the mouse Stuart. That was all fine and good 'til Lipnicki found that Stuart wasn't alone in his cage one day. "On Halloween, I found two babies!" Lipnicki said. His mouse is now called Stuette.

Q&A

Q. Who made the first stick of bubble gum?

A. As an accountant, Walter Diemer expected to work with numbers when he was hired in the mid-1920s by Fleer Corp. But Gilbert Mustin, the boss at the Philadelphia candy company, was trying to make his own base for chewing gum. One day he put a small vat of gum base near Diemer's desk in the plant. "After a while, I was not only watching it, I was doing it," Diemer once told Kids' Talk. When he noticed a batch made bubbles, he worked to make it bubble better. "I didn't know what I was doing," he said. "I wasn't a chemist. It was one of those things that developed slowly." In 1928, Diemer made the gum good enough to be sold. The first bubble gum was pink, because that was the only coloring on hand at the time. The flavor was a mix of wintergreen, peppermint, artificial vanilla and cassia, an artificial cinnamon. The name was Dubble Bubble. Who blew the first bubble? Diemer did.

MINI HA-HA

Did you hear about the little boy who was named after his father?

They called him Dad.

-- Knight Ridder

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