The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield Book Review

The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: April 5, 2016

One day, in the middle of the wood, bear finds something strange. He doesn't know what it is, but when he touches it, it makes a terrible noise. Despite this, bear visits again and again, slowly learning how to play beautiful music. He plays for his friends who gather round, listening to him and applauding him. One day he learns that this thing is called a piano and he soon sets off to see the world, playing for audiences around the world. As the stage gets bigger and bigger, bear begins to miss his woodland home and his friends. Do they miss him? Do they still think about him? So bear sets off back home. What he finds are a bunch of loyal friends who have followed his every move, cheering for him from afar. And he finds that the best place to play music is with the people that he loves.

On the surface this book could seem like any other story about someone who goes off to be famous. But those stories may not include a bear and they certainly don't have such magnificent illustrations. This bear is so expressive. I found myself being drawn into his eyes that always looked so kind and yet just a little sad, especially as the store progresses. From wood to city, there was so much to pull the eye in and some beautiful spreads that gave a feeling of awe and wonder. Yet the story is also lovely and one that I feel adults can enjoy as well as children. Bear was never unhappy playing his music and yet he was also homesick. He didn't feel loved, but in the end missed his friends. And the best part was that his friends missed him too. As someone who has moved several times this is a feeling I understand completely and also want to be that person who cheers for others from afar.

This is one that I think I may actually buy for my bookshelf, if only to show off the lovely illustrations.