Web Smarts

What: When Mom or Dad don't know whether an aardvark has teeth or how the land was formed in Zanzibar, these librarian-approved children's research sites are just a click away.

Best parts: Yahooligans.com, the kids' section of Yahoo, has fun features like "Ask Earl," which answers a different question each weekday. Click on "research" for easy access to encyclopedias, foreign-language dictionaries, or the complete works of Shakespeare. Or search specific topics of interest by category.

Try Factmonster.com for funky graphics and a helpful homework center. The site provides tips on improving one's skills in researching, studying, writing, and listening. Click on "Word Wise" to find frequently misspelled words, grammar tips, and interesting facts about languages. Certain features are updated daily, providing information on that day's famous birthday, history trivia, weather facts, and word quizzes.

Kids Click! (http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/KidsClick!) offers reams of information with easy ways to search: by letter, by subject, or through a search engine.

What you should know: Lest you think these sites are only homework centers, Yahooligans allows users to download its version of messenger. The site, along with Factmonster, also includes advertisements.

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