The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on February 7, 2001 · Page 173
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 173

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Wednesday, February 7, 2001
Page 173
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E8 WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2001 LOS ANGELES TIMES ' nit; iviu neamiia nuum HI The Kids' Reading page is part of the Reading by 9 literacy project The Story of Biddy 1 I V CICA11 JLV JLCtvJVXJ. :fteefnfwer, OPEN-HAND. The story so far: After three years in Salt Lake City, Biddy s master has decided to move to California. ' Ml r S By JERI CHASE FERRIS PART 3 Again Biddy packed Mr. Smith's wagons, and again she walked behind a long wagon train over the mountains. But this time she didn't have to carry a baby, too. Her girls were now 13, 7, and 3. By May, they were crossing the Mojave Desert in California. The wagons kept moving, night after night, until some of the oxen couldn't pull any longer in the soft sand. Biddy tried not to watch as the men shot animals that had walked obediently all the way from Utah. Then, the wagon train climbed over the last mountains and rumbled down into a wide green valley. The new log cabin town of San Bernardino would be Biddy's home. California became a state in 1850 a free state, where slavery was not allowed. Biddy and her girls arrived in California in 1851, and soon Biddy knew she could be free. She talked with her daughters about what they would do and where they would go if they were free. She talked with some new friends, free black people in San Bernardino. She thought and worried for four years. Mr. Smith worried, too. He knew that Biddy knew she was in a free state. Finally, in December 1855, he decided to move to Texas, a slave state, where there wouldn't be any foolish talk of slaves leaving their masters. Biddy made up her mind. She told her friends Mr. Smith planned to take her to Texas. Then Mr. Smith took his family and slaves, including Biddy, and tried to hide in the Santa Monica Mountains. Biddy's friends told the Los Angeles REUBEN MUNOZ Los Angeles Times County Sheriff. The sheriff rode to Mr. Smith's camp and took Biddy and the other slaves to the county jail "for their protection." In January 1856, Biddy talked to Judge Benjamin Hayes in his office (she wasn't allowed to speak in court because she was black). Soon Judge Hayes ruled that Biddy, her daughters and all Mr. Smith's slaves were "free forever." Thursday: Biddy is free in Los Angeles. But she can't read a word, she has three children, and she doesn't have a penny in her pocket. What will she do next? Jeri Chase Ferris is the author of award-winning biographies for children, including "With Open Hands" (the story of Biddy Mason), published by Carolrhoda Books. This story will be on The Times' Web site at www.latimes.comkids. California Classroom A Learning Link to the Los Angeles Zoo 6 r dyx TAD MOTOYAMA Alligators Methuselah, 54, top, and Cajun Kate, 40, are one of the LA Zoo's, famous couples. They are "endothermic" reptiles who don't eat in winter. Families in the animal kingdom can be just as complex as those of humans. There are animals such as chimpanzees that need to live in groups because they are so- rial and depend on each other for ' survival. Then there are animals that prefer being alone or to live in pairs. With Valentine's Day. corning up next week, let's look at one of the Los Angeles Zoo's longtime pairs, Methuselah and Cajun Kate. These two alligators are one of the zoo's most famous couples. The zoo tried to pair Methuselah with two other female alligators but had no luck until Cajun Kate came along in 1986. The reptile keepers who care for them like to say that it took a while for Methuselah to find his true love. Methuselah, 54, and Cajun Kate, 40, have had one "child" that now lives in another zoo. Although they continue to produce eggs each year, none have been fertile. Keepers suspect that Methuselah may be too old. He has been at the zoo since it opened in 1966. Methuselah is about 8 feet long, while Cajun Kate's length is about 6 feet. Because alligators are "endothermic," Methuselah and Cajun Kate do not eat in the winter. During the warm months between April and September, their keepers give them trout, rats and chicken a couple of times a week. ; Alligators have made a comeback from being an endangered species in the early 1970s, when many were being killed for their hides. Today, their numbers have increased and they are often seen in their native habitat in Florida's swamps. You can learn more about the alligators and other popular animal couples by coming to "LA Zoo Lov-in' " this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be booths to make animal Valentine cards, free face-painting, a walking-puppet entertainer and classical music. For more information, call (323) 644-6400 or visit www. This information was provided by Judy Shay at the Los Angeles Zoo, located in Griffith Park at the juncture of the 134 and 5 freeways. GARFIELD By Jim Davis F 1 1 IS IT POSSIBLE THAT I'VE V if 1 1 UOST THE EUEMENT y I li I 0?AA CMW VI How to Write to Us Kids, to take part in a feature on this page, write to Kids' Reading Room, Southern California Living, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012; or fax to (213) 237-0732; or e-mail socal Include your full name, age, school and city. Because of the large volume of mail received for this page, We are unable to acknowledge or publish all of your submissions. We read . all your letters and appreciate your participation. Keep reading and writing! BOOK REVIEWS BY KIDS Illustration of "Milo and the Mysterious Island" by Bonnie, 11. An Island Filled With Mystery We've asked you for reviews of good books you have read: "Milo and the Mysterious Island" by Marcus Pfister Milo and his friends discover a tropical island. Will it lead to good or evil? If you want to know, read the book to find out Bonnie, 11 Emerson Middle School Los Angeles "Who Really Killed Cock Robin?: An Ecological Mystery" by Jean Craighead George When a town's celebrity robin mysteriously dies, Tony Isidoro wants to find his killer. Other things in Tony's town are wrong too. There are too many bees and ants in the park. There are no frogs singing at night. A green substance is in the marsh, and unknown fumes are coming from the town dump. Everything that happens adds up to one thing: Cock Robin's killer. Read this exciting ecological thriller to find out who or what killed Cock Robin. Clare, 10 Viewpoint Elementary Calabasas I Compiled by MARY ELLEN WALKER Kids, send us a short book review. Include an original color illustration of the story if you like to draw. Be sure to tell us the title and author of the book. See "How to Write to Us" on this page. You can listen as kids discuss books on KPCC-FM (89.3) on the first Friday of each month from 2 to 2:30 p.m. The book for March 2 is "Tuck Everlasting" by Natalie Babbitt. JOKES & RIDDLES Why did Snoopy quit the comic strip? He was tired of working for peanuts. (Sebastian, 9, Glenoaks Elementary, Glendale) Where do vampires go when they have a cold? They go to a coughin'. (Blake, 12, Temecula Middle School, Temecula) , Why do deer use coupons? They like to save big bucks and a lot of doe. (Daniel, Montclair) Kids, send us your jokes and riddles. (No knock-knocks, please.) If you don't see your joke here, it's probably because someone else sent it in already. See "How to Write to Us." (ME an Jij IE) (UK! OIL MUM VWIHK MM Renins

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