Lump the dachshund is content living with David in Italy. But he is not happy living with Big Dog, who hounds him day and night. Lump needs a holiday. So when David announces that he’s off to the south of France to photograph a famous painter, Lump positively scrambles at the chance to ride along. At the villa, Pablo Picasso greets them and is enchanted with the little dog he calls Lumpito. The feeling is mutual; from that moment on, the two become soulmates. Lump loves David. But how can he show his master, and Picasso, that he is home at last?
Lumpito and the Painter from Spain by Monica Kulling and illustrated by Dean Griffiths (Pajama Press) tells the real-life story of a little dachshund named Lump who enchants Pablo Picasso. This sweet and simple tale offers a glimpse into a moment of Picasso’s life and a glimpse of the rascally pup that charmed the painter’s heart so much that he made it into a number of paintings.
I like that this book introduces young readers to Picasso without being a book about Picasso. The painter remains on the periphery, with the story focusing instead on the heart-warming puppy who’s just looking for some fun and safety.
Lump is brought to life by Griffith’s bright watercolours that capture the love between artist and dog. The France countryside is lovely and pops with colour. I especially like the inclusion of Picasso’s artwork scattered throughout the book in the background.
I find the book’s description a bit misleading as it suggests Lump actively tries to get Picasso to love him and his master David to let him stay. But in actuality, Lump is just acting like a typical puppy, enjoying the new sights, the new friends, and the wonderful food—all without the terrifying presence of Big Dog. Lump is just enjoying his freedom. Picasso and David make the decision to let Lump stay on their own.
Regardless of who is behind Lump getting a new home, Picasso and the newly named Lumpito find love and happiness in each other’s company. Lumpito and the Painter from Spain is a cute story with heart, both in the story itself and in the illustrations. I could see this being the start of many books about the four-legged friends that have inspired artists over the centuries.