Picture Book Perfect Friday – When Pigasso met Mootisse

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Whenever our classroom teachers used to come into the library asking for all the books we had on certain artists and art styles, I used to hide this book from them, keeping it back so that I would have the pleasure of sharing it with the kids when they came to library time. I thought it fitting to end this season of Perfect Picture Book Friday with one of my favorite library read-alouds. I am rather spoilt here as I have a fabulous Matisse gallery within walking distance and one for Picasso down the road, in Antibes. Both artists spent time painting locally!

When Pigasso Met Mootisse

By Nina Laden

Published by Chronicle Books, 1998

Ages: 5-11

Themes: Biography, artists, Picasso, Matisse, puns, pigs, cows, farm animals

Opening Lines/Synopsis:

There was once a young pig names Pigasso. While the other young piglets rolled in the mud and played games, Pigasso painted. He painted anything and everything, and in a most unusual way.

This is a really whacky, colorful, masterful book about some creative conflict, which arises between two well-known, highly-strung artists. When Pigasso met Mootisse introduces young readers to these artistic genii in a hilarious encounter between a ‘painterly pig’ and an ‘artsy cow’. With some very acceptable artistic license, some classic canvasses are conveyed with porcine and bovine overtones instead of human ones! Picasso and Matisse’s unique styles are so clearly portrayed in their unusual and bold characteristics, that I am sure that if a child were to visit my local Picassoor Matisse art galleries, they would recognize some of these moosterpieces.

The story spans the two artists’ meeting, friendship, escalating fame, rivalry and reconciliation, in a humorous, color-overloaded, word-play-filled book, that will enthrall all children, not just the artistic.

“Mootisse called Pigasso an ‘Art Hog’. Then Pigasso called Mootisse a ‘Mad Cow’.”

Why I like this Book:

The artwork and text truly capture the spirit of artists at work and artists in their relationships. The renewed friendship and creativity that this provokes is a fitting end to the tale. The narrator will skip through this book with an animated group of kids and then have them beg for more. Now you know why I was so sneaky in wanting the pleasure all for myself. I think this is a frantically funny way to get kids interested in artists that might otherwise be beyond their grasp.


If you have any possibility of visiting a gallery, even for a short while, and seeing some of their works in real life, I think even young kids would enjoy this after reading this book. If you ever come to Nice, take a day off from the beach and head with the kids to a nearby hill town called Vence, where, in the Chapelle du Rosaire, you will discover a number of Matisse originals and what he would call his masterpiece. Then wander around the old Medieval town centre and enjoy some artisanal ice cream!

In New York one can see many works of Picasso and Matisse at the MoMA.

I would definitely have kids trying to mimic the two distinct styles.

A word activity could be to write out all the book’s puns!

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We will start up again in September, but I hope you have been enjoying the wonderful books reviewed each week by around 30 book bloggers and compiled by the lovely Susanna Hill on her blog. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.

Just in case you missed it on Wednesday, the lovely Julie Hedlund invited me onto her blog to discuss why I had chosen uTales as an ebook platform.

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21 Responses to Picture Book Perfect Friday – When Pigasso met Mootisse

  1. Lori Mozdzierz says:

    What a clever storyline! Painted this one into my “must reads this summer” list :~D Thanks for sharing, Joanna!

  2. Oh wow! This is so colourful and the names caught my attention… makes me want to pick up a paintbrush and have fun….lol.
    If I manage to find a sunny morning one weekend this winter, I might sit on my deck and give it a go…
    Enjoy your weekend Joanna.

  3. Love the title! Sounds like a great way to get kids into art. Thanks, Joanna!

  4. Wow, I MUST get this for my artistically-inclined daughter. Love Chronicle books!!

  5. I love this book! What a great find. I love art galleries/museums and have been taking the boys a few times a year. This will be such a fun way to explore these two artists. Thanks, Joanna!

  6. Absolutely love th title and the theme of the book. What a wonderful way to teach kids about famous artists. I will never look at the artists in the same way again, asI will see a snout and horns. What fun! I like that it’s a biography too. At first I wondered if it might be considered historica fiction. Great classroom book!

  7. Amy Dixon says:

    I would pick it up for the title alone. Hysterical! Looks like a winner to me! Thanks, Joanna!

  8. Darshana says:

    Sounds hilarious. Will have to check it out. I love the title of the book.

  9. Wonderful activity ideas. There is nothing like going to an art museum and seeing a piece in real life that you’ve previously only looked at in a book. I like to imagine the artist painting, what they wore, the sounds of the world around them, how they felt while painting.

  10. I have heard of this book many times, but can you believe I haven’t read it yet?! I’m so glad you’re adding it to our list. I love books that make art or any kind of culture that kids sometimes don’t take to easily fun. I grew up in NYC and when I was little my mom would sometimes drag us to the Metropolitan or one of the other NYC museums and I absolutely hated going! I few books like this might have given me some appreciation! 🙂

    • Joanna says:

      Yeah, you have to be careful with kids and museums…. it can be a painful experience! I think sometimes a cool story like this can pave the way for a fun outing!

  11. I like how they turned the animals into famous artists! That is interesting! 😀

  12. We LOVE this book in our family. We stumbled upon it when my son was young and we’ve checked it out of the library so many times over the years. I laugh out loud every time I read it.

  13. Oh… I forgot to add… Have you seen JUST BEHAVE, PABLO PICASSO By Jonah Winter and Kevin Hawkes? Another good one. http://www.arthuralevinebooks.com/book.asp?bookid=197

  14. Clever clever clever book! Thank you so much, Joanna, for reviewing this one…I absolutely love it and your activity list is fantastic! I’m sorry to see the end of PPBF for the summer…but it will be fun to see what else Susanna has up her sleeve. 🙂

  15. Pingback: Illustrator Interview- Nina Laden | Miss Marple's Musings

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