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Kid Bits


Willow Run by Patricia Reilly Giff (Wendy Lamb Books, $15.95). Ages 9 to 12.

Written as a companion to her Newbery Honor book "Lily's Crossing," this is the heartwarming story of Lily's best friend, Meggie Dillon, whose summer plans of fishing and gardening with her beloved Grandpa in Rockaway, N.Y., are turned upside down when her dad gets a job as a foreman in a high-security B-24 bomber factory and moves the family to Willow Run, Mich.

With her brother Eddie off fighting the war and her grandfather left behind in Rockaway, high-spirited, friendly Meggie expands her family circle, forging bonds with neighbors, both kids and adults, and even with the ice cream man, as she comes to understand that the lives of everyone around her have also been shadowed by World War II. Giff has a real talent for creating appealing, believable characters and vivid period settings (the ramshackle housing project in Willow Run is particularly vividly described). The ending does leave the reader hanging but seems to promise a sequel.

-- Jean Westmoore


Sarah Bradley Douglas, 12, of Richmond, Va., won the No-Bake Cookie Contest held by the KidsPost section of the Washington Post for her O'Henry Bars recipe. She reports she has been making the bars with her grandmother since she was 5 years old.

O' Henry Bars

1 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

One 18-ounce jar creamy peanut butter

5 cups of Special K cereal

One 11-ounce package butterscotch chips

One 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar and syrup. Bring just to a boil, then remove from the heat. Add the peanut butter, stirring to combine. Add the cereal and stir until well combined. Pat the mixture to form an even layer in the baking dish and set aside to cool to room temperature. Melt the butterscotch and chocolate chips together, cool slightly and spread evenly over the cereal mixture.

When the topping has completely set, cut into squares (or any size you'd like). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrap for the freezer and freeze for up to 10 days. Makes about 3 dozen 1-inch squares


* Dec. 31 is Make Up Your Mind Day.

* When "The Nutcracker" was first performed in St. Petersburg in 1892, it was a flop. It has since become so popular that it is danced in many places every year during the holidays.

* Bees have been making honey for at least 150 million years.

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