Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
Gallery Ghost

Gallery Ghost

Spring 2009 Non-Fiction
Ages: 7 & Up
Author: Anna Nilsen
Publisher: Birdcage Press
Hardcover Price: $17.95
For readers who are too young to embrace the subgenre of mystery novels that focus on artwork, this clever book may fit the bill. In Gallery Ghost, the ghosts of 24 famous painters come out at night and add details in their own style to other artists' work. The reader's job is to find "the ghost who paints the most." This is a truly interactive book that combines fine-arts education, the thrill of mysteries, and the challenge of brainteaser games. The book contains a large selection of paintings by the likes of Gauguin, Renoir and Manet, reproduced courtesy of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. The classic canvases are supplemented by comic-book style illustrations by Richard Sala. It also includes a score sheet to keep track of the evidence, and a magnifying glass that encourages close study of the details of each painting. It might prove to be a bit confusing for younger readers, but is ideal for collaborating with a friend, older sibling, or parent. There's only one solution, so the mystery element has a limited shelf life. But there is plenty to savor later in terms of the beautiful artwork and the biographical information about each painter.
Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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