"The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester" by Barbara O'Connor; Farrar, Straus Giroux ($15.99)

After his father loses his job at the hardware store, Owen has to move with his parents into his grandfather's house where crabby nurse Earlene makes his life miserable. Owen has long dreamed of catching the biggest bullfrog ever seen in Carter, Ga., and after he catches the frog and names him Tooley, he and his friends work to build a huge wire cage to sink into the pond. Meanwhile, Owen's annoying neighbor Viola keeps telling him Tooley is sick and should be let go.

Then Owen hears a huge thump in the night and is sure something valuable has fallen off a passing train. What he finds is beyond his wildest dreams. But what if Viola is the only one with the right ideas about what to do with this secret discovery?

This fun story is set in the summer in Carter, Ga., at a time when kids made their own fun and adults would see them only at breakfast and supper time and when it was time to go to church!

-- Jean Westmoore


The 13th annual Western New York Earth Science Day will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Penn Dixie Paleontological and Outdoor Education Center in Hamburg. The event will include drilling and rock coring demonstrations at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; exhibitors; live animals; children's activities; telescopes, and more. For information, call 627-3560 or visit