MOVIES: Opening Friday, "New Year's Eve" (PG-13); coming Dec. 16, "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" (G); "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" (PG-13); coming Dec. 23, "The Adventures of Tintin (PG).

CONCERTS: Yo-Yo Ma with the Fredonia State College Symphony Orchestra, 8 p.m. today, Fredonia State College, King Concert Hall, 280 Central Ave., Fredonia.

A Peter White Christmas with Mindi Abair and Kirk Whalum, 8 p.m. Friday, Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall, Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave.

H2O with Wolf Tickets and Pentimento, 7 p.m. Sunday, Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St.

MercyMe, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Mainstage Theatre, UB Center for the Arts, North Campus, Amherst.

The Four Freshmen Christmas Show, 2 p.m. Tuesday, Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda.

St. Vincent, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Town Ballroom, 681 Main St.

Cory Branan, Dave Hause and Shance Sweeney. 8 p.m. Tuesday, Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St.

THEATER: "The Boy Who Could Sing Pictures," 7 tonight, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Leary Theatre, Niagara University, Lewiston.

"Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells," 2 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Theatre of Youth, Allendale Theatre, 203 Allen St.

"Two Christmas Tales: The Littlest Angel and Gift of the Magi," 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Alden Christian Theatre Society, 1470 Church St., Alden.

"Charles Dickens Presents A Christmas Carol," 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, Elicott Creek Playhouse, 530 Ellicott Creek Road, Tonawanda.



"The Auslander" by Paul Dowswell; Bloomsbury, 292 pages ($17.99)

This novel reads like a thriller but is set against the disturbing backdrop of World War II Nazi scientists' sadistic experiments attempting to prove the existence of a "master race" -- and their "final solution" for the disabled, the sick and anyone else who didn't meet the Aryan ideal. When Peter's German-born parents are killed in a traffic accident not far from their farm in Poland, he is sent to an orphanage, but the Nazis decide that his blue eyes, blond hair and German heritage make him a prime candidate for adoption by a German family. Peter feels like a foreigner, an "auslander" in Berlin, and he has his own ideas about what he's being told to think. His dislike for the Nazis grows by the day. Meanwhile, his friendship with schoolmate Anna leads to some dangerous encounters, including a visit to a "swing club" the night of a police raid. At home with his family, he uncovers some disturbing truths about Nazi experiments while rummaging through his adoptive father's desk. The author has written more than 50 nonfiction books on historical and scientific topics and he seems to offer an accurate historical backdrop for this very suspenseful novel.

-- Jean Westmoore



"Will Ferrell, because he cracks me up. I love a funny guy. He's even better in person. He's just so goofy ... 'Old School' is classic!"

-- "The X Factor's" Nicole Scherzinger on her celebrity crush, in People magazine

-- McClatchy Newspapers