'The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse'
By Eric Carle
Philomel, $17.99, ages 3-5
Though a final note explains the initial "Homage to Franz Marc" (an expressionist artist whose work was excoriated by the Nazis as nonrealistic), no child reader will be seeking an explanation about the identity of "The Artist." The vivid, painted-tissue-paper collages, so characteristic of Carle's work, generate a power that sparks across any gap, speaking directly to a young audience. The animals so vividly and nonrealistically rendered — a purple fox, a red alligator — leap out, fully alive. Art lives, in museums and on refrigerators.