>SOMETHING TO READ
Leap by Jane Breskin Zalben (Alfred A. Knopf, $15.95). Ages 10 and up.
Krista and Daniel were childhood swim buddies who somehow drifted apart. Now they're 12, and Daniel, a former swim champion, has been temporarily paralyzed in a freak mishap at the dentist's office. The painful and slow recovery process complicates everything about his life including his friendship with Krista.
The author effectively uses the alternating voices of Krista and Daniel to tell this interesting story of friendship and living with a disability.
-- Jean Westmoore
Loved paper dolls when you were little? Stardoll.com is a safe interactive community, focused at girls 7 to 17, that allows users to act as fashion designers for virtual paper dolls. But the dolls aren't what you remember playing with when you were younger. Barbie and Disney characters of old are replaced by Johnny Depp, Panic! At the Disco and Oprah. Using your mouse, drag a variety of clothes, many of which seem familiar from the red carpet or silver screen, over your favorite actors, models, royals, athletes and musicians.
Stardoll.com allows users to create accounts and "MeDolls," deciding hair color, facial features and makeup, much like the popular SIMS games. Users dress their dolls by purchasing clothes from the site's boutique with "star dollars." Signing up gets you 25 free star dollars, but once those run out, you have to pay with a credit card. Buying fake clothing for fake dolls may seem ridiculous, but after seeing the trendy designer clothing the site carries, you might find yourself begging your mom for her credit card. With an account, users can rate other MeDolls, send instant messages and discover amusing quizzes and horoscopes.
-- Carlene Miller, Alden