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Snow Island: The Christmas ball

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It was Snow Island’s 250th anniversary, and in celebration of the occasion, the city had decided to revive an old tradition. A Christmas ball would be held at the Winter Solstice Hotel, a unique and prestigious heritage building. Unlike the balls of old, however, kids would be invited. Better yet, to ensure the parents could enjoy the festivities for as long as they wanted, a few volunteers had organized a sleepover for the kids in the adjoining room.

Capella was so excited she could hardly sit still during dinner, which went on a little too long for her liking. As for Orion, he was quietly relishing the last few bites of his meal, eager to find out what was in store for dessert.

Just then, the waiters carried out a huge chocolate fountain and trays piled high with an assortment of fresh fruit, along with a stack of aprons for anyone worried about spilling on their fancy attire.

“Wonderful!” the twins exclaimed in unison.


As the guests finished eating, Mayor Isla thanked the event’s organizers and introduced the band that would soon kick off the next portion of the evening.

More than ready to get on the dance floor, Capella leaped to her feet. However, as the waiters continued to clear the tables, only a few of the musicians made their way to the stage, clearly taking their time.

“What do you think the others are doing?” Orion asked.

“I don’t know, but we’re going to find out,” his sister replied.

Without another thought, the twins stealthily snuck backstage into the dressing room where they found the rest of the orchestra looking distraught. Orion questioned one of the violinists and quickly learned that Naomi, the singer, would be making her first appearance in front of a large audience. She had stage fright and had locked herself in the bathroom.

“We’ll go talk to her,” Orion said.

“Good luck,” a saxophonist replied. “If she’s not out here in two minutes, we’re going on without her.”

Despite their words of encouragement, the singer refused to come out of the bathroom. Suddenly, Capella had a brilliant idea.

“We could sing with you to break the ice,” she suggested. “We’ve been rehearsing Jingle Bells at school, and several of our classmates are here.”

“Um… sure, I guess,” the young woman stammered. “So long as I’m not alone, I think I’ll be alright.”

Relieved, Orion and Capella hurried back to the ballroom and assembled a group of their friends while the orchestra finished taking their places. When it was their turn, the kids made their way on stage, standing on either side of the singer. Together, they delivered a performance that brought everyone in the crowd to their feet — and gave Naomi the encouragement she needed.

“Thank you so much,” she whispered to the twins before they headed off stage. “Now I know I can do it.”

The singing and dancing went on for hours, much to everyone’s delight. When the orchestra finally paused for a break, it was time for the youngest partygoers to head off to bed.

Although they were disappointed the night was coming to an end, Orion and Capella had thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“I hope there’s a ball again next year,” Capella said, as she curled up in her sleeping bag.

“Mmm, me too,” her brother mumbled, already half asleep.

The next day, the Snow Island Gazette reported that the ball had been a huge hit. They praised Naomi’s talent and described her as “an incredible up-and-comer.” After such a successful event, there was no doubt that the Christmas ball would once again become a beloved tradition on Snow Island.

THE END

By Johannie Dufour and Sarah Beauregard
Translated by Katya Teague

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Kids' Corner

Nature quiz: find the odd one out

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If you love nature, this fun quiz is for you. Try to find the odd one out in each of the following questions.

1. Which of these trees isn’t an evergreen?
A. Spruce
B. Yew
C. Poplar
D. Pine

2. Which of these mammals isn’t a rodent?
A. Beaver
B. Squirrel
C. Rabbit
D. Mouse

3. Which of these waterways isn’t a river?
A. The English Channel
B. The Seine
C. The Nile
D. The Mississippi


4. Which of these mushrooms isn’t edible?
A. Destroying angel
B. Porcini
C. Chanterelle
D. Shitake

5. Which of these constellations isn’t part of the zodiac?
A. Aries
B. Centaurus
C. Leo
D. Scorpius

6. Which of these mountain ranges isn’t in North America?
A. The Cascade Range
B. The Andes Mountains
C. The Appalachians
D. The Rockies

7. Which of these shrubs are thornless?
A. Sea buckthorn
B. Caper
C. Rhododendron
D. Rose

Answers
1-C, 2-C, 3-A, 4-A, 5-B, 6-B, 7-C

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Kids' Corner

Morse code basics

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Before the telephone and satellite communication was invented, Morse code was used to transmit messages over long distances quickly. For example, ships often used Morse code to send distress signals. Additionally, in the past, if you wanted to tell your family when your train would arrive at the station, you could send them a letter in Morse code.

What’s Morse code?
Morse code was invented by Samuel Morse and is a means of communication that uses long and short signals to transmit messages. Morse code is often sent using sound or light signals. It can also be written. For example, short signals are represented as dots and long signals as dashes:

• A =
• E =
• R =
• T =

Therefore, to communicate the letter A in Morse code, you must transmit a short sound followed by a long sound. Each letter of the alphabet has its own code, so you can easily spell words and phrases using the right combination of signals.


It’s a bit complicated, isn’t it? Fortunately, today you can simply text, email, or phone your friends. However, the Morse code is still used in military emergencies.

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Kids' Corner

Why does helium change the sound of your voice?

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Have you ever inhaled helium from a balloon? If so, you may have noticed that your voice becomes higher than usual. This is a funny and intriguing side effect. Here’s why it happens.

Your vocal cords vibrate when you speak or sing, much like the strings on a guitar. How fast the air passes through your vocal cords determines the pitch of your voice. Slow-moving air makes low-pitched sounds, while fast-moving air makes high-pitched sounds.

Helium is lighter than air. Therefore, when you inhale helium, it travels much more quickly across your vocal cords than oxygen, making your voice sound higher than normal.

Be careful
Though it’s fun to alter the pitch of your voice by inhaling helium, don’t overdo it. If you inhale too much, you could deprive your body of oxygen and faint. It’s perfectly safe to inhale small quantities of helium, but doing so repeatedly can have dangerous consequences.


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Kids' Corner

10 tips for being a good friend

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Cultivating long-lasting friendships takes time and commitment. Here are a few simple tips to help you make friends.

1. Pay attention and listen to them when they tell you something

2. Share with them

3. Keep their secrets


4. Periodically call, or video chat them

5. Never talk behind their back

6. Support and encourage them if they’re going through a tough time

7. Console them if they’re sad

8. Invite them to spend time with you

9. Celebrate important events with them like their birthday and holidays

10. Apologize if you hurt their feelings

One of the best gifts in life is friendship.

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Kids' Corner

Association game: vegetables

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Vegetables are excellent for your health and come in many colorful varieties and shapes. Try to match each clue to the correct vegetable.

1. This white vegetable is called Daikon
2. Bugs Bunny’s favorite food
3. A similar vegetable to collard greens
4. Another name for beans
5. There are summer and winter varieties of this vegetable
6. Rutabagas are from the same family as this vegetable
7. A crunchy green vegetable with lots of water
8. A dark green vegetable that looks like cauliflower
9. The leaves of this vegetable are used in salads
10. The most common varieties of this vegetable are English and Lebanese
11. Iceberg and Chinese are two varieties of this vegetable
12. A bulbous vegetable that’s said to repel vampires
13. A vegetable that’s often eaten with butter and salt
14. There are many ornamental varieties of this vegetable
15. The sweet version of a chili

A. Garlic
B. Chard
C. Broccoli
D. Carrots
E. Celery
F. Lettuce
G. Cucumber
H. Squash
I. Legumes
J. Kale
K. Corn
L. Turnip
M. Pepper
N. Radish
O. Arugula

 

 

Answers
1-N, 2-D, 3-B, 4-I, 5-H, 6-L, 7-E, 8-C, 9-O, 10-G, 11-F, 12-A, 13-K, 14-J, 15-M


 

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Kids' Corner

4 animals that can regrow body parts

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Many animals have extraordinary abilities. For example, certain species can change color or sleep with their eyes open. Here are four amazing creatures that can regrow their body parts.

1. Octopuses need eight limbs to move around and eat. Fortunately, they can regenerate lost tentacles in a matter of months.

2. Lizards can sever their own tails as a defense mechanism. A new tail will regrow within a few months.

3. Flatworms can tear themselves in half and regrow a completely new body, including a new head.


4. Spiders commonly lose legs when fighting off predators. The good news is that they can regrow their lost limbs within a few days.

In addition, male deer shed and regrow their antlers every year.

Did you know?
People can also regrow one specific part of their body. The liver, which filters blood, can partially regenerate itself.

 

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