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>SOMETHING TO READ

"Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel" by James Patterson; Little, Brown, 291 pages ($17.99)

The seventh -- and second-to-last -- book in James Patterson's blockbuster, action-packed series starring mutant bird girl Max is a wild ride, right up to an explosive cliffhanger finale in Paris. It features a bittersweet love triangle between 15-year-old Max, her former soulmate Fang, and new love interest Dylan and is being published on Valentine's Day.

Likable, spunky Max is leading a flock of human/bird hybrids trying to stop eco-terrorists who have decided to save the Earth by killing all the humans. The final book comes out next February, and Patterson includes an excerpt from his new "Witch & Wizard" series.

Note: Also in the book find a list of schools around the country that competed to be crowned the biggest fan of the Maximum Ride series. Frontier School District's Pinehurst Elementary made the list!

-- Jean Westmoore

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SOMETHING TO CREATE

BounceU, a play and party place for kids with 50 locations across the country, is holding a national Create and Bounce Graphic Artist contest, which is open to kids ages 13 and under beginning Sunday. Contestants are invited to design the official Create and Bounce T-shirt to be used in BounceU's summer camp program. Deadline is March 26. For information and rules, visit www.facebook.com/BounceU or www.bounceu.com.

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WACKY FACTS

Why are some dogs tiny and some dogs big? Why do some dogs have lots of hair and others have very little or no hair? The American Kennel Club recognizes 157 dog breeds. Each breed has certain characteristics that developed over time through careful breeding. Dogs that evolved in colder climates have thick coats to keep them warm. Dogs such as the Chihuahua, that are native to warm climates, do not have much fur, allowing heat to escape more quickly. Some dogs are more muscular than others because they were bred to work. Some dogs are "mutts." Mutts are a mixture of many breeds.

-- Time Book of Why