September 20, 2012

Lumpito and the Painter from Spain

Written by Monica Kulling
Illustrated by Dean Griffiths
Pajama Press
32 pp.
Ages 5+
Release date October 15, 2012

Reviewed from unbound copy

Lump, German for rascal, is a darling dachshund who lives with David, a photographer, in Rome.  Unfortunately, there's also Big Dog who makes life less than pleasant for Lump.  But, when David has to travel to the south of France to visit the artist Pablo Picasso, Lump is fortunate to find himself David's only companion.

At the villa, a big dog, Yan, wants to be friends with Lump, and even the goat, Esmerelda, is welcoming.  But, Lump is especially drawn to the man with the strong, dark, warm eyes who affectionately calls him Lumpito.  And Picasso, drawn to the little dog, treats him to belly rubs, shares treats from the dinner table, designs a special plate just for him, and proffers late night contemplations.  Not surprising that, when Picasso hears that Lumpito is not happy at David's, the artist is delighted to make a home for Lumpito with his family. 

Lumpito and the Painter from Spain is based on the true story of Picasso and the little dachshund who stole his heart, captured in the above photo by David Douglas Duncan, Lumpito's original care-giver.  Just as Lumpito inspired Picasso (see the copy of Picasso's Le Chien below), Monica Kulling's text and Dean Griffith's illustrations inspire anyone in a difficult situation that there is hope for joy and devotion.  Lumpito's eyes tell it all: they're bright, hopeful and kind. It's not surprising that Picasso found such an inspirational model in this little fellow, and it's so fortunate that Monica Kulling found this inspiring story and told it so simply and beautifully.

Read a little more about Picasso and Lumpito in the April edition of AnOther Magazine's Arts & Culture section here.

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