"A Good Horse" by Jane Smiley; Random House, 256 pages ($16.99)

This sequel to "The Georges and the Jewels" returns to the story of Abby Lovitt and her life training horses on her family's California ranch in the 1960s. Abby, who is now in eighth grade, is still working to train the colt Jack and has learned to jump Black George.

But then the family gets a letter claiming Jack might be a thoroughbred, the colt of a famous racehorse, and its owners may have a claim on him.

Aside from working with horses, Abby is learning to stick up for herself and getting along with classmates whose life experiences are very different from hers as the daughter of conservative Christians.

Anyone who loves horses will love all the details about riding, jumping and training in this series that is right up there with the horse books of Walter Farley and Marguerite Henry. The '60s settings of these books are as exotic and strange to today's readers as books set in the 1920s would have been for the girls of Abby's generation.

-- Jean Westmoore


Penn Dixie Paleontological and Outdoor Education Center in Hamburg will hold a nature walk at 10 a.m. Saturday. Visitors are welcome to bring snowshoes or cross-country skies. Cost for nonmembers is $4. Reservations are requested; call 627-4560.

Have breakfast with Santa at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, 180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda. At 1 p.m., Mr. Paul, the Balloon Guy, will entertain. Cost is $8. For reservations, call 693-1885.


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.