Written by P.I. Maltbie
llustrated by Pau Estrada

After the death of his friend, all Pablo paints are sad, blue pictures that no one buys. With a little help from his clever cat, Minou, Pablo soon meets a troupe of circus performers who might just have the cure for his blues. Pau Estrada's watercolor illustrations, infused with colors from Picasso's Blue and Rose Periods, bring alive the people and places of early 20th-Century Paris.

"Picasso and Minou" est bien le plus charmant des livres qu'on ait conçu et illustré  pour faire entrer Picasso dans le monde des enfants. 

("Picasso and Minou" is clearly the most charming book ever conceived and illustrated to introduce Picasso into the world of children.)

PIERRE DAIX, friend and biographer of Pablo Picasso

"Picasso and Minou" by P.I. Maltbie benefits from the superb illustrations of Pau Estrada. The story -- part true, part fanciful conjecture -- recounts the struggles of young Pablo Picasso in Paris, cranking out "sad, blue paintings" that nobody wants to buy. Not the least of his critics is his Siamese cat, Minou. On the doorstep of starvation, Minou leads gloomy Pablo to a circus, where the lively energy of the performers brightens his mood and leads him to the more salable style of his pink period. By itself, it's a good tale, and the educational value is boosted by a final author's note describing the historical background of the story with examples of both blue and pink period Picassos. An amusing bonus is an actual photo of the artist holding his cat.

But Estrada's art -- simultaneously light yet extremely detailed (every paving brick in a street can be seen) and historically informed -- is what caused me to marvel. In both obvious and subtle ways, he weaves in the subjects and, often, the treatments of Picasso's famed early work. Here are beggers, jugglers, scenes and animals that have become part of world culture, caught at the moment of their intersection with the artist's eye. Picasso's friends are likewise cleverly incorporated. One recognizes Gertrude Stein, Guilliame Apollinaire and Sebastia Junyer Vidal, among others. As illustrations for children's books go, this is a tour de force. 

MIKE DUNHAM, Anchorage Daily News