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!
By Nina Laden
Published by Chronicle Books, 1998
Themes: Biography, artists, Picasso, Matisse, puns, pigs, cows, farm animals
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.