This very good boy has his very own book.
The story of Riley, the Museum of Fine Arts’s resident pest sniffer, will soon be available as a picture book. The Globe’s Devra First and Ryan Huddle teamed up to write and illustrate the puppy’s tale after the museum debuted the Weimaraner in early 2018.
Riley’s keen sense of smell enables him to sniff out insects and other small pests that could harm works of art and to alert museum staffers before any damage is done.
“The Adventures of Riley the Museum Dog,” a coproduction of the MFA and the Globe, follows Riley as he tracks Wiley the moth from exhibition to exhibition. From a painting by Jackson Pollock to the Mummy of Nesmutaatneru, children will get the chance to learn more about the MFA’s lovable canine while also exploring 20 pieces in the museum’s galleries.
“I really enjoyed meeting the people at the MFA,” said First, who is the Globe’s food writer and restaurant critic. “It’s always nice to get a chance to interact with people at other cultural institutions in the city and get to know them a little bit.”
“The best part might have been when it was finished and I got to read it to my son,” she said. “And seeing which parts he laughed at and which parts he liked best, and seeing that he enjoyed the story, and it wasn’t just something in my head. It was something that an actual child will enjoy.”
Getting to see his own kids’ reactions to the book was also a highlight for Huddle, a digital designer and illustrator.
“They helped me,” he said. “I would draw stuff and then show it to them, get their feedback and reactions to how the dog looked. I made it kind of like a group activity at home.”
“The Adventures of Riley the Museum Dog” will be available for purchase at the MFA starting April 4. The museum will host a book launch celebration featuring scent-training demonstrations with Riley and his owner, Nicki Luongo, the MFA’s head of Protective Services. First and Huddle will also be there to sign books.Lillian Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @lilliangbrown.