A Guide to the Best of Southern California : FOR KIDS : Wild Kingdom

Those zany orangutans. Turn your back for a minute, their keeper says, and they’ll throw food in your coffee. Or take a cruise in their pool, using a bucket as a boat. A profile of these pranksters appears in a recent edition of Zoo-n-You, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn.'s bimonthly newsletter for children. Each six-page issue features short articles filled with fun facts--"a brown bat can eat more 600 mosquitoes an hour!"--word games, contests, quizzes and more.

Newsletter editor Debbie Munsey, who used to work for the national nature magazine Ranger Rick, says she always tries to slip in a conservation message. “We want kids to be aware of the problems facing wildlife, but not to feel overwhelmed by them.” Readers learn how they can help protect animals and their natural habitats, from putting up a bat shelter in the back yard to supporting the California Desert Protection Act.

A $5 Zoo-n-You subscription buys six issues, a decoder card and stickers.

Zoo-n-You, Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn., 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles 90027-1498.