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Myra here.

We are on the last two weeks of our reading theme on artists and rebels, so I thought that it would be good to finally share this fun picturebook that was recommended to us a few weeks back.


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When Pigasso Met Mootisse

Written and Illustrated by: Nina Laden
Published by: Chronicle Books, 1998 ISBN: 0811811212 (ISBN13: 9780811811217). Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me. 

This ingeniously-crafted picturebook introduces young readers and young artists to a pig named Pigasso who paints in “a most unusual way” and to a bull named Mootisse who liked painting “big, bold, bright pictures.”

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As they started becoming quite known in the art community, they decided to find a more reclusive place, so that they will have the space and solitude to paint. And that is how they found each other – their chosen places of refuge happen to be right across the road to each other!

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At first, the friendship was congenial. Then it became competitive, then combative, until it finally became a “modern art mess.”

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Yet this rivalry is also what spurred their art to new heights, as they sought to one-up each other through their paints and new creations. In time, however, they began to long for each other’s company. Too proud and stubborn to apologize, they allowed their art to express what can not be articulated through words:

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What I particularly loved about this picturebook is the brilliant wordplay, the bold paints, the bright colours, the fearless illustrations that pay tribute to these two masters’ trademark styles. The Author’s note though indicate that Nina Laden largely fictionalized the story of Picasso and Matisse’s friendship, although parts of it are drawn from real accounts.

I also thought of sharing these two paintings by Picasso and Matisse that I found at the Pinakothek der Moderne Museum in Munich. I’d leave it to you to guess which one is by Picasso and which one is by Matisse.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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