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Gentle's Holler by Kerry Madden (Viking, $16.99)

As the second-oldest of nine kids, 12-year-old Livy Two spends most of her time doing chores or babysitting. Life is hard for a family that big, what with a dad who doesn't work a regular job because he's dreaming of making it big in the music business.

But Livy Two and her brother Emmett have dreams of life beyond the North Carolina "holler" where they live at the moment. But one tragedy strikes, and then another, and readers are left to wonder what the future may hold for the Weems family.

Madden works some mountain magic in this beautifully written book, set in the early 1960s. Readers will long remember Livy Two Weems, Uncle Hazard the dog and the rest of her colorful family.

-- Jean Westmoore
Kids 8 to 14 can compete to show their comedy skills in a contest sponsored by Foohy, a company that sells school supplies to tweens, and featuring Lil' JJ, also known as James Lewis III, a 14-year-old comedian who won grand prize in a BET comedy competition. Go online to Lewis will choose the top 10 finalists in early May and fans will vote on the "Foohyest" entry through May 30.

Look at sunspots (through telescopes with filters), check out a quarter moon and other wonders of the night sky when National Astronomy Day is celebrated at the Penn-Dixie Paleontological and Outdoor Education Center off Bayview Road in Hamburg on Saturday starting at 5 p.m. Dr. Warren Marcus will make a presentation about Saturn just after dark. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own telescopes. Dress for the weather. Kids are welcome. Cost is $2. Call 627-4560 or go online to

Dinosaurs will again roam the Earth on Dino Day on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Families will see dinosaur topiaries (large sculpted plants) and learn about the rainforest and why its environment and plants are important to the planet. Kids will make mini-terrariums with real plants. Family admission of $10 covers two adults and dependent-age children. To register, call 827-1584, Ext. 291.

What did one math book say to the other?

"I have a lot of problems."