"Killer Koalas From Outer Space and Lots of Other Very Bad Stuff That Will Make Your Brain Explode" by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton; Feiwel & Friends, $12.99. Ages 6 to 10.

Your brain most likely won't explode but you could easily laugh your head off at this wacky collection of rude, crude, hilarious poems, very short stories and cartoons from an Australian author. A boy bugging his parents about jumping into a volcano meets an untimely end in "Bad Mommy and Daddy and the Volcano"; a very bad ant (who won't wear his seat belt or put on his space helmet) also meets an untimely end in "The Very Bad Ant and the Big Shiny Space Rocket." There's a "Bad Magazine" mock-out of Mad magazine with a cover story about "blood-sucking grannies from the grave." Other silly and gross fun includes "very bad farmer riddles," a takeoff on "Old MacDonald Had a Farm," "The Boy Who Forgot His Head Because It Wasn't Screwed On" and other mayhem specifically designed for beginning or reluctant readers. This takes the mayhem of Captain Underpants up a few notches. Also by this author: "The Big Fat Cow Goes Kapow."

-- Jean Westmoore


Power up during Video Game Mania from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Strong National Museum of Play, One Manhattan Square, Rochester. Activities will include tournaments, inventions, a retro room and a special room set aside with games suitable for teens and adults. For information, call (585) 410-6365 or visit


A Norwegian folktale says ocean water is salty because a mill at the bottom of the ocean is grinding out salt. The truth is the ocean gets its salt from rocks on land. When rain falls, it erodes the rocks. The water dissolves minerals from the rocks, including chloride and sodium (the main ingredients in salt). Those minerals flow down streams and rivers into the ocean.

-- Time Book of Why