Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Picasso and Minou

Picasso and Minou

P.I. Maltbie
Illustrator:  Pau Estrada 
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 9
Charlesbridge, 2005   ISBN: 978-1570916205

Minou the cat was adopted by a young artist called Pablo Picasso. Pablo was a painter who created very sad blue paintings. Unfortunately no one seemed to like these paintings and Pablo was always poor. Eventually there came a day when Pablo could no longer afford to feed Minou and he told the cat that he would have to find his own food from now on.

Minou searched the streets looking for something to eat but pickings were few. At least they were until he came to a camp of circus performers. Here the people were cheerful and happy, so unlike many of the people Minou had seen as he walked around the streets of Paris. The circus folk fed Minou a bowl of bread and stew and then they gave him a sausage. Instead of eating the sausage himself Minou took the sausage back to Pablo.

Then one day Minou took Pablo to visit the circus people and being around the happy gymnasts, jugglers, and clowns gave Pablo just the inspiration he needed to create a new series of paintings. This time his major color was pink and this time the paintings sold.

Based on the real story of Pablo and his cat Minou, this picture book for older readers not only gives the reader a unique portrait of what Pablo Picasso’s life was like early on in his career. It also gives the reader a feel for what life in Paris at the turn of the century would have been like. Vivid and lively illustrations capture the beauty of Paris.