“Joshua Dread” by Lee Bacon; Delacorte Press, $16.99.
“Our class got out of sixth period early the day my parents tried to flood the earth.”
That’s the first sentence of this entertaining novel about what it’s like to be the son of supervillains. Joshua Dread tries to keep a low profile; not even his best friend Milton knows Joshua’s mom is “The Botanist,” and his dad is Dr. Dread. Joshua doesn’t approve of the Dread Duo’s bad deeds, and he is tired of their experiments. There are zombies in the basement (which are fond of tofu) and threatening plants that might grab your arm while you’re eating breakfast. The Dread Duo are under siege from archenemy Captain Justice, a Superman-like good guy. When a new girl named Sophie Smith shows up at school, Joshua gets the impression she might have something to hide, just like he does.
Then a new kind of villain emerges, smoke creatures that kidnap the Dread Duo and other supervillains. Is Captain Justice behind the smoke creatures? Or is it someone else?
The author neatly dials up the suspense right up to the thrilling finale.
– Jean Westmoore


The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, 180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda, will hold its Halloween Spooktacular from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday. Charlie and the Checkers will perform a comedy magic show at 6:30. Cost is $8 for children; $2 for adults (no coupons or passes accepted). For information, call 693-1885 or visit


You’re about to drift off to sleep and your body suddenly jerks you awake. Scientists call this jerk a hypnic (HIP-nik) or myoclonic (my-uh-KLAH-nik) jerk. No one knows why this happens. Some scientists think the brain causes people to jerk because it gets confused when muscles start to relax. For a second, you think you’re falling. Your brain tells your muscles to tense up to “catch” yourself before you fall.
– Time Book of Why