“After Iris” by Natasha Farrant; Dial Juvenile, $16.99. Ages 10 and up.

Written as the “film diaries of Bluebell Gadsby,” an aspiring filmmaker, this marvelous novel is the story of a family that has fallen apart after a tragedy. Blue hides behind her camera; her older sister Flora dyes her hair a different color at random times; younger siblings Jasmine and Twig are crazy about their pet rats. Their mom and dad bury themselves in work; that leaves Zoran, the Bosnian live-in nanny, to run the show. Things get more complicated with the arrival of Joss, the boy next door; Blue has a crush on him, but is Joss really more interested in her older sister?

Farrant has written novels for adults but this great family story may remind some readers of Jeanne Birdsall’s marvelous Penderwick books.

– Jean Westmoore


“Max and Ruby: The Nutcracker Suite” will be held at 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday in the Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda. Cost is $15-$20. For more information, call 692-2413 or visit


Tire treads – the pattern of deep grooves on the tires – make a car slower because of increased friction between the tire and the road. That’s why race car tires are bald. In NASCAR races, smooth car tires allow for more speed. They have to be changed four to five times during a race.

– Time for Kids Big Book of Why