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Meet Mozart's Sister

Five years older than her famous brother Wolfgang, Maria Anna Mozart was one of the most renowned pianists in Europe at the age of 12. But she stopped playing to marry, take care of her five stepchildren and her own family.

Elizabeth Rusch’s For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart (Tricycle Press, $16.99, ages 4-8) is a rare but enlightening look at Mozart’s early inspiration, companion and duet partner. The lush illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fanchet give a sense of what superstardom meant in the 18th century, as well as the close relationship of siblings who might have been competitive but loved each other as much as they loved their music.

Why Is Mona Smiling?

Angela Wenzel knows her art and knows how to make it interesting in a personal way. She asks to whom Van Gogh gave his ear (a girl named Rachel in Arles, according to a newspaper account at the time).

This lovely, colorful and information-packed book, 13 Art Mysteries Children Should Know (Prestel, $14.95, ages 4-8), does not try to be comprehensive. Rather, it describes mysteries that have accompanied the legends of some world-famous artists, as well as their lives, painting techniques and the context of their subjects.

Frank Lipsius is a contributing writer to MetroKids.

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