No nicer, more sensible introduction to the scope -- in historical perspective -- and unique pleasures of opera can be imagined for children of middle years. The text is addressed to the particular propensities of children, and, in clarity and concision, written for them. In Miss Streatfeild's hands, operatic history is not just something that happened once on a distant day but part of something that is still happening at every performance; she journeys from ancient Greece to Gershwin, Menotti and Britten in this fashion. The last section focuses on particular operas that children enjoy, including those in which children can or do take part. A brief selective list of recordings rings down the curtain.