Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lumpito And The Painter From Spain


By Monica Kulling

Take one look at those eyes and you are drawn right into this charming tail of a dog who finds his forever home with famous artist, Pablo Picasso. This is a clever little story that focuses on the journey of an adorable dachshund while introducing children to a renowned artist in the process.

 "Lump" begins his life with photographer, David Douglas Duncan, in Italy and although he has a good life there, it could be better without "Big Dog" who takes charge and bullies Lump on a daily basis. David decides to take Lump to the South of France with him when he visits Picasso and it is soon evident that this is the home for him.



Along with the relationship that is growing with Picasso, Lumpito - as he is soon nicknamed- also delights in his newfound friendship with Picasso's big but friendly dog Yan and goat, Esmeralda.


Ultimately, Lumpito is invited to stay for good and the adoration Picasso had for this lovely Doxie is apparent in real life as he is included in several of his works of art.


Dean Griffiths' watercolor and pencil illustrations compliment the story well and captures the warmth and spirit of Lumpito which makes the story all that more engaging.


I love stories that weave fact with fiction and Monica Kulling seems to do this effortlessly. I asked her if she would share her process and how this lovely story of Lumpito came into being.

Meeting Lumpito
I’ve long been fond of writing poems based on paintings. I like the challenge of finding words that resemble the mood and effect that a particular painting conveys. In fact, my first sale was a poem based on a painting by the British Columbian artist, Emily Carr.
I met Lump, the dachshund whose name means “rascal” in German, when I turned to writing some poems about Pablo Picasso’s life and works. I’m not a huge Picasso fan, so it was an odd choice. Perhaps I was hoping his passionate approach to creativity might infect my own work.
While researching, I came across the story of photojournalist David Douglas Duncan’s trip to Cannes. He was on assignment to take photos of Picasso for Life Magazine. I was smitten with Lump and quickly bought Duncan’s book Picasso & Lump: A Dachshund’s Odyssey, which chronicles the visit in photos and text. I knew the story was wonderful picture-book material and thought children would identify with the small dog, renamed “Lumpito” by Picasso.
Weaving truth and fiction seems to be what I’m doing a lot of these days, so that part comes relatively easily for me. I begin with all the facts, choosing those that pertain to my story’s focus — those that I think kids would find most fascinating. In bringing historical characters to life, I use the same techniques one uses to give life to made-up characters — action and dialogue, humor when you can, and of course, insight into motivation. It’s difficult to fail when your main character is a dachshund as adorable as Lumpito.





This is a heartwarming, quiet story that will interest young readers as well as fit nicely into an art teacher's curriculum.  A cute dog and an introduction to a unique artist...what more can you ask for?  

1 comment:

Alicia PadrĂ³n said...

You are right Rozzita.. I'm in love with Lumpito now. :o)