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KID BITS

SOMETHING TO READ
Taylor Five by Ann Halam; (Wendy Lamb Books, $15.95).

Part survival adventure and part sci-fi thriller, "Taylor Five" is the story of a 14-year-old girl who gets the shocking news that she is one of the first successful human clones -- and an exact genetic replica of a scientist friend of her parents.

Tay isn't sure what to think.

But she doesn't have much time to worry, since the orangutan reserve where she lives with her parents and brother comes under attack from rebel forces, and Tay and her brother and an orangutan named Uncle find themselves fleeing for their lives.

Halam offers an exciting yarn set in the wilds of Borneo.

-- Jean Westmoore

SOMETHING TO WRITE
Are you a good sport? Kids 7 to 17 can write an essay (maximum 75 words) about why they are good sports in the games they play, with their family or in their community, for a shot at a $5,000 national prize in a contest sponsored by Sunny D. Contest rules are posted on www.sunnyd.com. Essays can be submitted online until Sept. 15; no purchase is necessary. Contest spokesman is Bethany Hamilton, the amateur surfing champion who lost her left arm during a shark attack.

SOMETHING TO PLAY
"ESPN 2K5" gets the jump on the pro football season. Just like televised football games, these video games seem to get better looking each year. In this one, the cable sports network is giving Sega gaming technology the look and sound of a Sunday night NFL game -- for about half the price of the Madden game.

-- Knight Ridder Newspapers

KIDS CALL IT
Kids really influence decisions on what a family buys. Here's a look at the percentage of 8- to 12-year-olds who said they decide or help decide family decisions on what to buy:

Video game systems, 97 percent

Clothes, 93 percent

Videos/DVDs, 93 percent

Groceries, 84 percent

Vacations, 62 percent

Cars, 22 percent

Source: Harris Interactive

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