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Lumpito and the Painter from Spain

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Lump the dachshund is content living with David in Italy. But he needs a vacation from Big Dog, who hounds him day and night. 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 soul mates. Lump loves David. But how can he show his ...
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Lump the dachshund is content living with David in Italy. But he needs a vacation from Big Dog, who hounds him day and night. 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 soul mates. Lump loves David. But how can he show his master, and Picasso, that he is home at last?

Lumpito and the Painter from Spain is inspired by the true story of Picasso's love affair with a dachshund named Lump who came for a visit, refused to leave and became immortalized in a number of the artist's paintings and drawings.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It’s Picasso like you’ve never seen him before: through the eyes of a discontented dachshund. Based on a true story, Kulling’s tale opens with Lump’s unhappy life in Rome with photographer David Douglas Duncan and another, much larger dog: “Lump and Big Dog were not best friends,” writes Kulling as an amusing montage shows the dogs engaged in multiple skirmishes. When David takes Lump to visit Picasso, the spark is undeniable, and Lump remains with Picasso. In a tender moment, the artist clutches Lump like a child: “They stood looking at the moon, listening for the night to share its secrets.” Readers won’t learn much about Picasso himself, beyond his benevolent temperament as seen through Griffiths’s naturalistic paintings, but it’s an exceptionally heartwarming anecdote about the artist. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
CM Magazine
"[Griffiths'] bold, bright watercolours enliven each page...Young readers will surely be attracted by the appealing full-size dust jacket which portrays the mischievous little Lumpito in his entirety. Kulling and Griffiths' picture book with its real life characters, picturesque setting and lovable main character should prove a popular read-aloud for the K to primary group."
Spirituality & Practice
"It is easy to identify with this lucky dachshund who wants nothing more than to be loved and appreciated. This is a heart-warming story that is well told in words and images."
"Solidly told without anthropomorphization, the straightforward text is elevated by Griffiths' panoramic double-page watercolors, which heartrendingly depict Lump as a hesitant, tentative animal just waiting for an excuse to become a happy, optimistic pet...A successful, warmhearted outing."
Reading Today Online
"Griffith’s beautiful watercolors add to the richness and beauty of this tender and delightful story."
Library Media Connection
"Kulling's simple story offers readers a glimpse into Picasso's world. Griffiths' gentle watercolor illustrations are a nice match."
Quill & Quire
Simple and sweet . . . [Griffiths] perfectly captures Lump's spunky personality, the warm spirit of Picasso, and the special connection between artist and dog.
International Reading Association Reading Today Online
Griffith's beautiful watercolors add to the richness and beauty of this tender and delightful story.
Canadian Children's Book News
A memorable tale about the bond between man and dog . . . absolutely endearing.
Resource Links
A great story, and charmingly depicted.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A dachshund named Lump lives with Big Dog and a photographer named David. Big Dog does not treat Lump nicely. So Lump is glad to take off in a car with David, cameras, and film, to meet a famous artist in the south of France. Lump is pleased to be greeted by Pablo Picasso and his big dog who just wants to be friends. Picasso calls him Lumpito and enjoys petting him. He even makes him his own plate with his name on it. While others sleep, Picasso and Lumpito gaze at the moon together. David decides the Lumpito will be happier staying with Picasso. The dog is actually seen in several of Picasso's paintings. The horizontal format of the pages encourages the artist to emphasize the dog's elongated shape. He looks out at us from the jacket/cover amid paint cans, brushes, and partially completed pictures. Scenes from the south of France set the stage for the interaction of Picasso and his animals. Sitting among plants are statues we can recognize as his, adding to the overall naturalism of the illustrations. The story is based on Picasso's real relationship with a dachshund. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Inspired by photographer David Duncan's Picasso & Lump: A Dachshund's Odyssey (Bullfinch, 2006), this charming picture book chronicles the story of the unlikely friendship between Pablo Picasso and the photographer's pet. Duncan decides to have his dog accompany him on a trip to see the famous painter. Lump is happy to do so since the photographer also owns the aptly named "Big Dog" that torments and intimidates Lump daily. Upon arrival at Picasso's villa in the south of France, Lump immediately feels at ease and makes friends with Picasso's big, friendly dog and even with the goat that roams the grounds. Picasso finds the pup endearing and renames him "Lumpito." The canine and the painter become inseparable, and Duncan realizes that this is a much better home for his pet than he provides. The illustrations cover most of the page and are filled with color and exuberance. Particularly engaging are the expressions on Lump's face as he experiences a gamut of emotions: fear, caution, excitement, and joy. Many details that pay homage to Duncan's original photographs are included. The descriptive language would enhance ELA lessons, and art teachers could certainly find a place for the book in their curriculum. Younger children may find some background information about Picasso helpful, but this friendship story can stand on its own.—Sara-Jo Lupo Sites, George F. Johnson Memorial Library, Endicott, NY
Kirkus Reviews
A sweet-natured story about a real little dachshund (lump means "rascal" in German) who won Picasso's heart. Kulling based this simple picture book on the real-life pet of Life photographer David Duncan. This diminutive dog was dominated by the Duncan's Afghan, Big Dog. One day, Duncan and Lump (there's only room for one small dog) motor down to the south of France in a zippy sports car for a shoot of the renowned artist. Picasso and the dog bond immediately, and Duncan decides that the little dog would be happier as part of a bustling household that includes a friendly big dog named Yan and a frisky goat called Esmeralda. Lump soon becomes the painter's beloved little "Lumpito." The prolific painter later includes his doggy companion in many works, including his studies of Las Meninas, the famed Diego Velázquez painting of the Spanish court (the original also features a dog in the foreground). Disappointingly, no explanatory backmatter is included to supplement the brief text, missing the opportunity to add much-needed depth and detail to this fascinating and appealing story drawn from fact. Despite the notable textual limitations, Griffiths' lighthearted paintings charm. In some, the little dachshund seems heroic, nearly life-sized--quite a feat when he is sharing a story about a painter who most agree was himself larger than life. A delight for dog lovers, if not particularly useful in arts education. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781927485002
  • Publisher: Pajama Press Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/15/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 379,530
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: AD620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.20 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Monica Kulling has published over thirty-five titles for children, among them In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps it Up, selected by the Smithsonian as one of Ten Great Science Books for Kids. Her books have been regularly nominated for awards, including ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award for All Aboard! Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine.

Dean Griffiths has illustrated twelve books for Orca. He lives in Duncan, British Columbia. More information is available at

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 6, 2013

    Love the Lump!Inspired by the true story, Lump (pronounced loomp

    Love the Lump!Inspired by the true story, Lump (pronounced loomp) lives in Italy with his master, photographer David (David Douglas Duncan),  and Big Dog. Lump and Big Dog are not the best of friends. In fact, Big Dog makes Lump’s life pretty so miserable, he sleeps with one eye open. He has to eat his food quickly in fear that Big Dog might take it away from him. Poor Lump! 
    One day, David has to go on assignment to photograph the famous painter, Pablo Picasso. And he takes little Lump with him. Lump is so glad to spend the day alone with his master, and away from Big Dog, he chases his tail in excitement.
    As David’s car flies along the hilly landscape to the south of France, Lump’s ears “flapped in the breeze. He was happy as a lark.”  Finally they come to the beautiful villa that belongs to the painter.  The old painter bursts through the door to greet them, and he isn’t alone.  Bounding toward him is another Big Dog. Lump stands his ground; he isn’t going to push around ever again.
    But, surprise! The big dog – his name is Yan – wants to be friends! In fact, there are many surprises in store for Lump as he explores the villa with his newfound friend. And the biggest surprise is the great painter himself. 
    “Lumpito!” Picasso calls him, and if Lump had “been a cat, he would have purred.” It’s love at first sight for both of them.
    Monica’s poetic narrative retells the story of a special friendship with sparse eloquence. Dean Griffith’s rich, vivid watercolors capture the luscious landscape, the bold personality of the painter, the soulful expression of Lumpito as he dodges Big Dog, and Lump’s sheer delight as he finds his new home. A gorgeous and rewarding tale of love, and a perfect read-aloud for a rainy – or any -- day!

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