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"The Beastly Arms" by Patrick Jennings, Scholastic, $16.95.

A boy nicknamed Nickel, his mom and his pet kangaroo rat Miriam have to leave their New York City apartment after the landlord raises the rent, and they end up moving into a very strange apartment building called the Beastly Arms.

It's a great apartment -- except for that very strange smell coming from the upper floors. Nickel, an amateur photographer, decides to investigate and is amazed at what he finds.

Animal lovers will get a real kick out of this strange tale of an eccentric city dweller and his passion for wild things.

-- Jean Westmoore
Got a pair of stinky sneakers Mom's been threatening to throw away? Tell her no way -- that fragrant footwear could earn you a prized spot in the Odor-Eaters Hall of Fumes. Odor-Eaters is asking kids 5 to 15 to enter its Rotten Sneaker Contest so the company can choose the nation's most pungent shoes. Log onto and print out the entry forms and official contest rules. Then write a short essay about how your shoes got so pungent (you've only got 25 words, so make it good!). And snap a photo of your foul footwear so the judges can see just how ripe they really are. Deadline is Oct. 31. Prizes include a spot in the Hall of Fumes, a $500 savings bond, a year's supply of Odor-Eaters insoles, etc.

More than 1,000 kids from Cayuga Heights Elementary School in Depew were hoping to raise more than $10,000 for the Western New York Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International with a walk on Monday. (Last year the school raised more than $8,600.) The same foundation benefited from a Memory Walk by Williamsville's Mill Middle School students June 10 in honor of school librarian Linda Hain who died earlier this year. She was faculty adviser for Mill's Literary Club and maintained the school's courtyard garden.

Here are the first-place winners in the "Name the Dinosaur Contest" from the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens: tyrannosaur, "Chomper," Maria Seewaldt; pteranodon, "Swooper," Ameliah Martinez; apatosaurus, "Stretch," Elyssa Wiecek; baby apatosaurus, "Stubby," Nicole Fitch; stegosaurus, "Mr. Spikes," Anne Skuse; rutotidon, "Snaps," Isabella Luciano.

Noah: Ouch! This ointment the doctor gave me really makes my arm smart!

Megan: Hey, why don't you try rubbing some on your head?

-- Knight Ridder

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