In P. I. Maltbie's Picasso and Minou, Pablo Picasso is living in Montmartre with his cat, Minou. Minou is not a fan of Picasso's depressing Blue Period paintings. Neither, it seems, is anyone else, for Picasso is so poor he cannot afford to feed Minou and turns him out into the streets. Minou, however, makes friends with a band of circus performers who give the hungry cat a sausage. The loyal cat gently carries the sausage home to share with his artist friend. Minou hopes that by introducing Picasso to his new friends they might bring a little joy into his life. Lo and behold.... Picasso's begins his Rose Period and his paintings sell like hotcakes.
I really enjoyed this book. There are so many themes in this book that a reader can latch on to: friendship and loyalty, artistic dedication and inspiration, how color represents mood, ways of seeing the world, artistic expression, etc. The illustrations are a treat; Pau Estrada's use of color and attention to detail bring life to the story. There is an author's note at the end which fills us in about the real story of Minou, plus a photo of Picasso with his cat!
Paris is forever linked with The Painterly Life. There are a number of interior scenes of the artist's studio, with bits of the city out the window. One of my favorite "shots" of the city is when Picasso puts Minou out into the street and we get to see the low rise row of simple apartments bordering an urban square. And since this is the Big City: real estate is King.... When Picasso is poor he lives in Montmartre, where the White Dome of Sacré-Coeur figures prominently. However, when his paintings start to sell his new and larger digs sport a view of the Eiffel Tower....
Location, location, location.
Maltbie also wrote a picture book about Monet: The Painter Who Stopped the Trains.
Visit the illustrator's website.
Read an interview with the author at California Readers.
See some of Picasso's Blue Period paintings (yes, they are rather depressing) or his Rose Period paintings.
You can always visit your local museum to see a Picasso in person. It seems to me almost every museum has at least one Picasso.
Big Kid says: Is Picasso at the Metropolitan Museum?
Little Kid says: Cat!