Review: The Bear and the Piano

thebear1The Bear and the Piano is one of those picture books that just begs to be plucked from the shelves and taken home. The title entices – a bear?  a piano? – but the real draw is the powerful image of a tuxedo-wearing, ivory-tinkling bear, framed by lush velvet theatrical curtains. The eye is led to the bear, the piano and then to the intriguing background – not a stage, as you might expect, but a flower-filled meadow and the faint images of tree trunks, fading as they grow higher.  So much in one image; a story in itself.

After that, the inside pages have a lot to live up to.  They succeed brilliantly, revealing a charming tale of a bear who discovers a ‘strange thing’ in the woods and, after much practice, begins to play the piano.  Later he leaves his kith and kin to share his talent on Broadway.  Away from the woods and far from home, the bear must decide – fame or friendship?

thebear2.jpgThe illustrations are magical, enchanting. The bear is infused with great emotion, expressing sadness, hope, loneliness and a whole lot more – often with the subtlest of alteration to the eyes, or a slight slump in the bear’s frame.  Muted yellows, browns and greens are mixed with the odd splash of red and yellow, dotting the page as a flower, a tie or a street light. Some scenes are busier and reward a slow, leisurely turn of the page – others are sparse and allow the words to take centre stage.

The story is beautifully told and lead us to a bookish natter about friendship, family, love, hopes, dreams – the big stuff of life.  The overall effect – the interplay of word and picture – is dazzling.  A wonderful picture book, the first by David Litchfield and – here’s hoping – not his last.

 

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “Review: The Bear and the Piano

  1. Lily March 30, 2016 / 2:36 pm

    Aw this is so adorable! I’m one to do this as well, pick up a book just because of the graphics in it!

    Like

    • BenC March 30, 2016 / 3:19 pm

      It’s a lovely book, thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lily March 30, 2016 / 3:34 pm

        Your welcome, keep up the great content 🙂

        Like

  2. Acorn Books March 30, 2016 / 6:47 pm

    We went to a story time today and this had been the advertised book but it was changed at the last minute. I was looking forward to hearing it and after reading your review I’m even more disappointed! Definitely one to add to my to-read pile.
    I love your descriptions of the illustrations, they sound truly captivating.

    Like

  3. Acorn Books March 30, 2016 / 6:51 pm

    We went to a story time today and was meant to be read but it was changed at the last minute. I was really looking forward to hearing it and after reading your review I’m even more disappointed! Definitely one to add to my to-read list.
    I love your descriptions of the illustrations, they sound truly captivating.

    Like

    • BenC March 31, 2016 / 6:57 am

      Thanks for reading and commenting, it’s a delightful book. Hope story time chooses it next time!

      Like

  4. Mother of 3 April 5, 2016 / 1:55 am

    So cute! I’ll have to get this one from our library!

    Like

  5. Melissa D April 5, 2016 / 7:11 pm

    Ooh, I hope our library has this one! Off to check…thanks for the great review. 🙂

    Like

    • BenC April 5, 2016 / 7:45 pm

      Hi Melissa, thanks for reading and commenting! Think it was published only today in the States – but do keep an eye out for it, it’s wonderful!

      Ben

      Liked by 1 person

      • Melissa D April 5, 2016 / 8:01 pm

        I will! It looks like a great one.

        Like

  6. Forever Joyful April 8, 2016 / 3:28 am

    Looks cute! My oldest children are both studying piano. I think my daughter could relate to Bear. Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.

    Like

  7. Beth @ Pages and Margins April 11, 2016 / 8:14 pm

    Just wanted to make sure you saw that your review was featured this week on the #LMMLinkup! Congrats!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s