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"Magic Below Stairs" by Caroline Stevermer, Dial, 208 pages, $16.99 Ages 9 to 12.

Frederick Lincoln, an orphan, is facing the dreaded punishment of being locked in the "still room" if he can't pick up the hundreds of dried peas and beans spilled purposely all over the kitchen by the nasty orphanage director. He falls asleep, and while he sleeps, a mischievous magical creature -- a brownie named Billy Bly -- does the work for him.

Billy Bly follows him to the house of a wizard when Frederick gets a job as a footman's helper. But the wizard is not happy about Billy Bly, and when the whole household moves to a country house, the remains of an evil curse threaten the wizard and his family.

This colorful, suspenseful, well-written fantasy set in England about 200 years ago is great fun and more books may be coming.

-- Jean Westmoore



The Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Parkway, will offer free admission from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.



*My Pet is Super! Write a newspaper article for the Daily Planet about a Super-Pet and how he or she did something extraordinary. Submit your entry at or print your entry and mail it to Picture Window Books, 7825 Telegraph Road, Bloomington, Minn., 55438. The first-place winner will appear in a DC Super-Pets book and receive the original illustration. The winner and his or her school each will receive five copies of the book. The contest begins Friday and the deadline is Feb. 28.

*Kids ages 10 and under are invited to enter the Matt James coloring contest. Deadline is Jan. 28. To download the picture to be colored and for more information about the contest, visit Two grand prizes for tickets to the WNED Kid Fest will be awarded along with 20 first prizes for a new CD.

*Dr. Fresh, a California toothbrush maker, is asking second- to fifth-graders to design a fun and motivational toothbrush for its "Be a Dental Inventor" contest. The winner will receive a trip to California to visit the Dr. Fresh headquarters, a trip to Disneyland and a $1,000 savings bond. For guidelines and to download an official entry form, visit Deadline is Jan. 25.

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