Rowan saves the day Rowan of Rin is about a boy named Rowan who is very different from the other kids in his village. They are strong and fearless, while Rowan is small, weak and fearful. That's why Rowan is the keeper of the bukshah-big gentle animals that have thick, gray wool.
The bukshah drink from a stream that flows down from the top of a mountain that is next to their village. The mountain is rumored to be the home of a dragon. When the water stops flowing, the villagers become worried for the bukshah because they can only drink water. The villagers decide to send up some of their strongest people to find the problem.
Rowan and two other people go to consult Sheba the Wise Woman. She throws a stick at Rowan because someone mocked her for something she said about him. Then she gives them a strange prophecy. After that they leave because she isn't telling them any thing else. Absentmindedly, Rowan takes the stick home with him, where he finds out that it isn't a stick but a map that shows a secret way up the mountain.
He goes to show the members of the mountain party, but they soon find out the map appears only when Rowan is touching it. The map won't let them make a copy, either. So Rowan is forced to go up the mountain with them. On the mountain, they face many dangerous obstacles. But every time they go through one, someone turns back to go back to Rin because they are too scared. Only Rowan and one other person make it to the top, where they can fix the problem and find out if the dragon really does exist. But will they be able to get back down the mountain alive, and will Rowan be able to prove to the people of Rin that he's not the scared weakling they thought he was?
If you like Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda, you could read the other books in her four-book series. The next book is called Rowan and the Travelers. Julie Napientek, 12, Carol Stream
Rowan is the hero of Rin In Rowan of Rin, Rowan is a little boy who takes care of bukshahs (an animal like a buffalo). One day the stream stops flowing through the town of Rin. (The stream is their only supply of water.) Everyone in town is very afraid, so they turn to Sheba, the witch. She gives them a magical map, and gives Rowan the power to read the map. They learn from Sheba that a dragon (who lives high up on the mountain near their town) has stopped the stream from flowing. Anyone who has gone up the mountain in the past has not come back alive.
Rowan and a few of the town's people know that the fate of their town depends on them going up the dangerous, haunted mountain and defeating the dragon. They will need the magical map to find their way. As they are starting out on their journey, a poem appears on the map: “Seven hearts the journey make. Seven ways the hearts will break. The bravest heart will carry on, when sleep is death and hope is gone. Look in the fiery jaws of fear and see the answer white and clear, then throw away all thoughts of home for only then your quest is done.” Read the book and see what becomes of Rowan and the town of Rin! Alex Johnson, 7, Woodridge
Fed tour worth a million bucks Are you hungry for money? Then visit the Chicago Fed. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is a great place to tour. It has lots of interesting facts and cool exhibits. One of my favorite displays was a rotating cube filled with 1 million dollar bills. It weighed 1 ton. You would need a very large purse to carry that.
Another of my favorite activities was detecting which currency was genuine or counterfeit. I got to see up close the new $20 bill. It has three colors to make our money harder to counterfeit. There was a short video showing the inside of the Federal Reserve's huge vaults. There is about $8 billion stored there.
I learned that almost every inch of the Fed is covered by cameras. This will protect the money in the vaults. My little sister enjoyed the Money Pit. Lights flash when you step on the glass-enclosed pit, which contains 143,000 coins.
The last exhibit I would like to tell you about is a two-part exhibit called “The Lifecycle of a Dollar Bill.” First the money arrives from the mint to the Federal Reserve. It is then delivered to banks and then it goes to people and shops. It circulates back and forth for a while before it finally gets back to the Federal Reserve. If it's in bad condition, it's shredded. But if it's in good condition it finds its way back into circulation.
Every good tour needs a souvenir. I got a free bag of money. Only it is shredded! Corinne Madsen, 9, Downers Grove
Editor's Note: The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 230 S. LaSalle St., Chicago, offers free guided tours at 1 p.m. Monday-Friday, except bank holidays. Self-guided tours are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call (312) 322-5111 for more information, or visit www.chicagofed.org and click “About the Fed.”
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