In an underground animal world, one special boy arrives

Young Readers

July 02, 2006|By MARY HARRIS RUSSELL | MARY HARRIS RUSSELL,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Gregor and the Marks of Secret

Suzanne Collins

Masterpieces Up Close

Western Painting from the 14th to 20th Centuries

Claire d'Harcourt

Chronicle / $22.99 / Ages 10-14

This book is not designed as a run-up-your-SAT-score primer. Claire d'Harcourt makes intriguing fun out of art history's material. There are 10 or so questions, on 21 images, asking readers to notice and read the small details. The answers - and some are quite tentative and preliminary - don't come until later, so there's no open-and-shut feeling of art-history-as-flash-cards. It's art history as mystery, as a glimpse of the many ways artists might work.

Mary Harris Russell, who teaches English at Indiana University Northwest, reviews children's books for the Chicago Tribune.

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