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Fair Weather by Richard Peck; Dial, $16.99, ages 10 and up.

The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 -- with its newfangled hamburgers, its giant Ferris wheel and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show -- is the setting for this hilarious new book for readers 10 and up.

Just as he did in his award-winning "A Long Way from Chicago and "A Year Down Yonder," Peck finds high humor in the contrast between city and country-dweller and milks it for all it's worth. This time the city-dweller is Aunt Euterpe, a lonely widow who is browbeaten by her servants; the country dwellers are her fearless, squirrel-skinning teenage nieces and nephew from rural Illinois who show up in brand-new duds with their loudmouth Grandpa at Euterpe's invitation to visit the fair.

Several historical figures of the day, including actress Lillian Russell, make appearances in Peck's fun story.

-- Jean Westmoore

Mini ha-ha

Mother: Remember, son, life is a game. It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play.

Son: Yeah ...

Mother: So, what are you going to do today?

Son: Forfeit.


Michael Blake, 12, an 8th grader at Ss. Peter Paul School of Hamburg, is among the 15 brainy kids age 10 to 12 from around the country competing in a "Back to School" edition of "Jeopardy!" this week. Michael's segment of the show airs Thursday. The winner of each show gets to keep the money won with a minimum guarantee of $5,000; the other two contestants each got a $1,000 shopping spree at

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