Today at 9:30 a.m., every kindergarten child at Spring Garden Elementary School will receive a new book -- and discover that he or she is featured in the story.
The book, "The Good Earth," is from the series "All About Me," in which the child's name, hometown and friends are inserted into the text. Each 18-page hardcover book is published with color pages and large print text. The idea is that when children discover themselves in the pages of the books, they'll be encouraged to read.
Ray Gambrill III of Hampstead saw how much his son, Ray Gambrill IV, enjoyed "All About Me" style books. Mr. Gambrill marketed the books from a home office until May 15, when he and his wife, Jeannie, opened All About Me Books at 1323 N. Main Street in Hampstead.
"My son loves them. He picked out our first order," Mr. Gambrill said. "We've given him a business card because he's become our kid consultant."
This spring, Mr. Gambrill decided to offer books to his son's kindergarten class. Because of a retail value of $9.95 per book and a list of almost 150 students, he sought local sponsors to supply the books for free.
Mr. Gambrill received donations of 50 books each from Farmers & Merchants Bank and McDonald's of Hampstead. His store provided the rest.
"I'd rather give books to kids than spend money on advertising," he said. "And these books encourage kids to read."
He's lately designing a fund-raising program in which area schools and organizations could sell the books and keep the proceeds.
"The Good Earth" was chosen for the kindergarten from a roster of 34 storybooks, with topics ranging from sports and hobbies to holidays and cartoon characters. It's a story about zoo animals with suggestions for preserving the environment.
Information: All About Me Books, 239-7333.
There's still time to enter the annual Miss Manchester Fire Prevention Queen contest, which has been rescheduled for 8 p.m. July 4 during the Manchester Fire Carnival.
The contest was moved to the new date because most of the six applicants were required to take Student Achievement Tests on the original date, June 3.
"We're looking for someone who is well-poised, is comfortable in front of people and who can recall information easily," said contest organizer Nicole Timberman. "I served as the Manchester Fire Queen from 1989 to 1990. It was a lot of fun."
To qualify for the contest, single young women between the ages of 16 and 20 from the district can register. The eligibility area includes Manchester and generally extends to Deep Run and Geeting Roads, Random Ridge Road on Route 27, Ebbvale Road and Oakmont Green.
Fire prevention study materials are given to contestants with 20 questions, one of which will be randomly drawn July 4 by each contestant. The candidate then must answer the question.
"Most people are somewhat knowledgeable about fire prevention, but we need someone willing to say 'I'm willing to help the community learn while I learn," " Ms. Timberman said.
The fire queen appears at six or more functions and parades during her reign, including the county fire queen contest. The young woman also earns community service hours required for public school graduation.
For information, contact 374-5650 before July 1.
Westminster's Todd Harris and his car, The American Independent, rank near the pinnacle of the drag racing world. In 1994, Mr. Harris achieved fifth place among 3,900 dragsters.
Everyone can see Mr. Harris and his "Super Comp Dragster Champion" at the North Carroll Public Library parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 17.
Registration is not required, but for information you may call the library at 372-1212.
In Nancy Keffer's second grade classroom, the Hong Kong newts of David Campbell and green Australian tree frogs of Joseph Peppler were sitting atop the heads of children.
In Mary Davis' second grade classroom, Chris Massey engineered his tiny model train. Caitlin Gallagher showed foreign souvenirs.
Every second grade classroom at Spring Garden Elementary was bursting with dinosaurs, mystery books, toys, dancing slippers, seashells, baseball cards and sports trophies.
It was the annual Second Grade Hobby Show, and on Thursday evening parents were invited to visit displays by children in all six second grades.
Gardening is the favorite hobby of Laura Marie Schaefer of Pamela Goodson's class. With her gardening shoes, gloves and baskets of fresh spring vegetables, she displayed photographs of her sizable garden.
"I like gardening because I like to get messy," she wrote about her hobby. "It's special because I can do it when I want to."
Scott Laderer's rock collection was like a box of jewels. "I like the agate the best," he said, holding up a translucent blue stone among his classmates' collections of fishing lures, toy horses and other things in Martha Dickinson's room.
In Patty Wright's room, Daniel Wahl wrote that his collection of adventure and mystery books keeps him reading because, "you don't know what's going to happen next. They teach you to solve mysteries step by step."