Pages of Color and Melody an Array of Books - Featuring Subjects from Composers at Work to Bunnies Falling in Paintpots - Brings Music and Art Alive for Young Readers

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WHITE RABBIT'S COLOR BOOK Written and illustrated by Alan Baker; Kingfisher, $7.95 Ages 3 and under MOONY B. FINCH, THE FASTEST DRAW IN THE WEST Written and illustrated by David McPhail; Artists & Writers Guild Books $12.95, ages 3 to 7 THE BOY WHO DREW CATS Retold by Arthur A. Levine Paintings by Frederic Clement; Dial, $16, ages 5 and up THE GENTLEMAN AND THE KITCHEN MAID By Diane Stanley Illustrated by Dennis Nolan; Dial, $14.99, ages 5 to 8 MY MAMA SINGS By Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson Illustrated by Sandra Speidel; HarperCollins, $15 Ages 4 to 8 MAX FOUND TWO STICKS Written and illustrated by Brian Pinkney; Simon & Schuster, $15 Ages 4 to 8 PIANNA By Mary Lyn Ray Illustrated by Bobbie Henba; Harcourt Brace, $14.95 Ages 4 to 8 BEETHOVEN LIVES UPSTAIRS By Barbara Nichol Illustrated by Scott Cameron; Orchard, $15.95 Ages 5 to 8 ROY LICHTENSTEIN: THE ARTIST AT WORK By Lou Ann Walker Photographs by Michael Abramson; Lodestar/Dutton, 42 pp., $15.99 Ages 8 to 12 THE PAINTER'S EYE: LEARNING TO LOOK AT CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN ART By Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan; Delacorte, 96 pp. $9.95 paper, ages 10 and up PAINT AND PAINTING; Scholastic, 48 pp., $19.95 Ages 8 and up MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; Scholastic, 46 pp., $19.95 Ages 8 and up LITTLE LOUIS AND THE JAZZ BAND: THE STORY OF LOUIS "SATCHMO" ARMSTRONG By Angela Shelf Medearis Illustrated by Anna Rich; Lodestar/Dutton, 42 pp., $13.99 Ages 8 to 11

ALTHOUGH the start of a new school year means plenty of required reading, budding young artists and musicians may find inspiration in several recent books designed to entertain as well as educate. Preschool Books

Part of a four-book series written and illustrated by Alan Baker, White Rabbit's Color Book introduces toddlers to the delight of mixing colors. A cunning bunny jumps from paintpot to paintpot, changing the color of her coat. From yellow to red, she turns orange; from red to blue, she turns purple. Finally, green and red together transform white rabbit into a brown bunny. Picture Books

An art fantasy comes true in Moony B. Finch, the Fastest Draw in the West, written and illustrated by David McPhail. Young Moony sketches with a magic pencil that makes his art pop to life with a touch of his hand and vanish as quickly with a rub of the eraser. Moony draws himself into an adventure on an old-fashioned passenger train, complete with a gun-toting robber. Soft, watercolor vignettes reflect Moony's quiet dignity as he wryly controls his art and apotentially dangerous holdup.

Arthur A. Levine retells an art-coming-to-life story in the ancient Japanese legend The Boy Who Drew Cats. Kenji is the son of a poverty-stricken mother who leaves him at the village monastery where his artistic talent garners respect from a young monk but angers an older one. When Kenji is unjustly sent away, the young monk tells him a secret, which - along with Kenji's drawing ability - saves his life and liberates a fearful countryside. Exquisite acrylic illustrations by Frric Clement and beautifully designed pages reminiscent of Japanese screens make this a breath-taking book.

Set in a present-day art museum, The Gentleman and the Kitchen Maid, by Diane Stanley, introduces readers to the imaginary life of paintings. Two Dutch paintings - "Portrait of a Young Gentleman" and "The Kitchen Maid" - have fallen in love with each other. A sensitive young art student who notices their glances finds a way to unite the two in this charming story. Illustrator Dennis Nolan adds artistic appeal by creating Old Master look-alike paintings on every page.

My Mama Sings, by Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson, celebrates song-filled ups and downs in the life of a young black boy and his mother. Poetic lines and subtle rhythms describe their shared music. …