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A wiz of a book

Explorabook is a children's science book that's different. This isn't just to be read; it gives children 50 nifty experiments to do with attached devices. The cover has a spinner with a moire pattern that, when turned, creates gyrations of shifting color. The book later shows how the pattern is created and explains that, although it is "definitely real," it exists only in your eyes. A magnet encased in plastic and attached to the spiral binding can be used for several experiments. Bacterial experiments can be conducted with two packets of "agar" (bacteria snack food), water and sugar. It's available in Tampa at the Museum of Science and Industry and in St. Petersburg at the Great Explorations Museum, Haslam's bookstore and the Straw Goat. For a catalog from Klutz Press in Palo Alto, Calif., call (415) 424-0739. (Explorabook, by John Cassidy of Klutz Press and the Exploratorium, San Francisco's hands-on science museum, $17.95.)

Catalog of books

Free Spirit Publishing, Minneapolis, Minn. Formed in 1983 to provide "the best learning and lifestyle materials for children and teens, teachers and parents." Topics for kids: developing positive self-esteem, taking control of your life, making better choices, making a difference. The first book it offered was The Gifted Kids Survival Guide (ages 11-18). More than 30 titles. Free catalog. Call (800) 735-7323, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.

Awesome safety

"Cowabuckle!!!" That's what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be saying as they encourage America's children to buckle up for safety on the road: "Buckling-Up is Most Cool!" Last week, the Turtles helped launch National Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week and the SAFE KIDS Buckle-Up Program. They also will be "spokesturtles" in the National Highway Safety Administration video news release. According to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, auto accidents continue to be a major cause of injury and death to children. Use safety belts and child safety seats every time you ride in the car, no matter how short the distance of your trip. Also, read, follow and keep the instructions to your child's car safety seat.

Looking for day care?

The Pinellas County License Board for Children's Centers and Family Day Care Homes offers a free referral service for available licensed child care in 1,200 family day care homes and 276 children's centers in the county. Consultation is also available with child care licensors who have years of child development experience. For information, call the License Board at 521-1853 in St. Petersburg or 725-9778 in Clearwater.

Just as we suspected

From The Great Divide: How Females and Males Really Differ, by Daniel Evan Weiss (Poseidon Press): 24 percent of married women and 51 percent of married men say they and their spouses take care of the children an equal amount.

Okay, but what

about calculus?

Homework advice from Dr. Yvonne Fournier, president of Fournier Learning Strategies Inc., Memphis, Tenn.: Your daughter hates geometry and, predictably, is doing poorly at it. She says it has no relevance to life. What to do? Try this: Explain that in high school, each student is required to be a generalist, to try to be good at all subjects. Show her that she uses geometry often: in turning the corner at a stoplight, in cutting up pizza, in taking a shortcut to a friend's house. Show her that it's a thinking process that forces you to adopt logical equations as a framework for problem-solving. Suggest that she view geometry as learning to analyze situations by identifying the group rules. Show her that it's a strategy she can apply to life.

Need advice? Write "Parent Exchange'

Got a daughter who plays Picasso on your walls? Or a teen-ager who has a smart answer for everything? Need creative solutions to these problems? Write to "Parent Exchange" and describe them. We'll get the experts _ other parents _ to give you some ideas. Write to: Parent Exchange, Floridian, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 419, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33731-0419.

A book store and more

Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa, offers special programs for children and parents. For kids: Bring in a report card from last quarter if you had perfect attendance and get a one-time 10 percent discount on a book of your choice. For parents: Receive a 15 percent discount on The New Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease ($9.95), the best selling how-to book that tells parents how and why to read aloud to children and lists a treasury of good read-aloud books. For preschoolers and parents: Storytime at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays, either outside on the patio or inside near the fireplace. RSVP. Limit 10 children. For information, phone 253-2638 in Tampa.

Attention all camps!

On March 30, the Floridian plans to publish a listing of summer camps. Groups planning to have summer camps _ day or residential _ for young people from preschool through high school are invited to send information about their camps for that listing. Each listing must include the following: name and description of the camp, day or residential, address, times, dates for each session, cost, meals served and name and phone number of person to call for information. Also, please indicate whether there are facilities for disabled campers. Mail to Summer Camps, Floridian, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33731. Deadline for information is March 10.

_ Compiled from wire and

staff reports