Author/Illustrator: David Litchfield
Age Group: 2-7
Synopsis: A bear’s dreams of music take him away from his home but he then learns what is truly important in life
The Low Down:
Pages of The Bear and the Piano are often like something out of a dream. The illustrations’ backgrounds can be so soft and beautiful and the story so heart warming that it stays with the reader for a time afterwards, like waking from a lovely sleep. Litchfield captures the true essence of a story about ambitions and love in the book and delivers it to the reader in such a lovely package. Bug finds something new to focus on with each reading switching from his awe of the forest, to his awe of the bear, to the piano, to the lights of the city.
The main character, unsurprisingly a bear, is first introduced as a cub. He stumbles upon a strange thing in the forest that happens to make terrible noises. But after years of practice the noises become beautiful and the bear exceedingly talented at play it. Other creatures from the forest come to listen and eventually strangers discover the nightly performances that the bear gives in the woods. The bear agrees to go to the city with the strangers, to learn more about music. He does just that and meets with great success. However, even after all his accolades and new-found knowledge his finds that he misses home. He returns to the forest to find that his piano is gone as are his friends. But he’s released from his grief when he finds that the bears have actually moved his piano to protect it and been following his success in the city with pride. They have been there with him even when he could not see them but are happy to have him home once more.
It’s difficult to think of bears as soft and charming but Litchfield captures them thusly. Each page seems to convey exactly what it’s meant to, whether it be a charming clearing in a somewhat enchanted forest or the bright alluring lights of the city. Should there be no words at all it would be so easy for the reader to understand the bear’s thoughts and feelings based on the settings on each page. From wistful to overwhelmingly beautiful, the pages whisk the readers through a waltz and end leaving the most enchanting glow of warmth and love. Truly a magical read.
- Take time to examine the details in the backgrounds, especially on the city pages. Even all the faces in the crowds are different. It’s a bit awe-inspiring to think of the time and detail that were put into these pages.
I need more!
David Litchfield just came out with a new book called Grandad’s Secret Giant was just released in April 2017. For more info check out his website: http://www.davidlitchfieldillustration.com/
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