"Moon Pie" by Simon Mason; David Fickling Books, $16.99.

Ever since her actress-mother suddenly got ill and died, 11-year-old Martha has gotten used to being in charge: taking care of her younger brother Tug, making dinner, trying to take care of her dad who has been acting stranger and stranger since he quit his job. She even has to make her father go to the doctor when he falls off the roof of the house. (She's not quite sure why he climbed up there, either.)

Martha's only real fun is making costumes for the movies, original versions of classic movies, her friend Marcus likes to film. But after a crisis, when Martha discovers that her father is acting strange because he's an alcoholic, Martha and Tug end up living with their grandparents, who like everything neat and orderly and don't approve of Marcus. Will Martha ever get her life and her family back?

This heartwarming story has enough humor and memorable characters (and satisfying ending) to balance the sadder and serious parts about how children can be affected by a loved one's drinking.

-- Jean Westmoore


The Riviera Theatre and YWCA of the Tonawandas continue the Family Film Series at 11 a.m. Saturday with "We Bought a Zoo" (PG) at the theater, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda. Cost is $2. For information, call 692-2413.


From 1337 until 1453, the French and British fought what historians call the Hundred Years War. But the historians were off by 16 years; the war started in May 1337, when France's King Philip VI tried to capture British territory in southwestern France. Of course, the British did not like this. Over the next 116 years, both sides fought, with brief periods of uneasy peace. The war ended when the French forced the British from the European continent.

-- Time Book of Why