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Art Mystery, Part 5 - A Letter and an Answer

Art Mystery, Part 5 - A Letter and an Answer
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.26

     challenging words:    helping, restoration, tidbit, tremendous, realistic, historian, appetizing, appreciation, affected, university, world-famous, entire, leading, brushstrokes, script, artists
     content words:    New York, Aunt Rune, Pop Art, Claude Monet

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Art Mystery, Part 5 - A Letter and an Answer
By Colleen Messina

1     Aunt Rune, Shelly, and Brian had spent the entire day in the museum in New York. They had looked at all kinds of paintings to try and figure out what style of painting Aunt Rune had found in her attic. They had looked at realistic portraits, abstract squiggles, pop art soup cans, and thousands of dots in a pointillism painting. They had learned a lot, but they still had not solved their mystery.
2     Now the day was over, and they still had not identified the style of the painting. Then, everything changed when the art restoration expert, Gustav, galloped into the Pop Art room with a yellow envelope in his hand.
3     "Ms. Brush, look," he said.
4     Aunt Rune, Shelly, Brian, and Ms. Brush, the art historian, rushed over to Gustav.
5     "I was removing the painting gently, oh so gently, from its frame to finish cleaning it. Then, this envelope fell out from behind the canvas. Inside is an old letter. It is addressed to a Rune, but I cannot read French."
6     "Oh, this is just tremendous. Let's go to my office and read the letter," said Ms. Brush.
7     Shelly and Brian were as excited as if it were the first day of summer vacation, or when they got a half pound of jelly beans at Easter, or as if their parents had finally agreed to get them a puppy. They felt all tingly, as though they were sick, but they weren't. Shelly twirled her mousy brown hair around her finger, and Brian chewed on a hangnail as they made the walk down to Ms. Brush's office. The once-short walk now seemed like it went on for miles and miles and miles.
8     Once inside, Ms. Brush shut the door. They all sat down. Gustav gave the letter to Aunt Rune, who opened it with trembling fingers. The yellow paper seemed so fragile. The black, scrawling script across the page looked as though it had been written long ago. Aunt Rune gave Ms. Brush the note, and she translated it.
9     Mr. Rune,
10     Thank you for helping with my art studio. Please accept this painting of some water lilies in our pond as a token of my appreciation.
11     Claude Monet
12     Giverny, 1920

13     "So, it is a Monet," said Aunt Rune, who had secretly hoped for this all along. All the pieces finally fit together.
14     "My father had lived in France, mostly in Paris. He was a carpenter. Sometimes he went on little trips to French villages, and I know he visited Giverny. I never knew he had met the great artist. I cannot understand why he never told us about this. His memory was terrible at the end of his life. He also had an annoying habit of giving us a tidbit of information, then smiling slyly and telling us he would tell us the rest later. But then he would forget he ever said anything," said Aunt Rune sadly.

Paragraphs 15 to 26:
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