The Bear and the Piano
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This issue’s cover illustration is from Hare by Zoe Greaves illustrated by Leslie Sadleir. Thanks to Old Barn Books for their help with this Christmas cover.
What happens when a small bear finds a piano in the forest? He learns to play it, is discovered and whisked off to fame and fortune. But is this enough?
In this debut picture book, David Litchfield takes a theme that will have a resonance for even the youngest, growing up in a world where the cult of fame is very real. It is a gentle story with a strong message at the end: wherever your talent may take you, the friends and family you leave behind are important. It is a straightforward narrative that is presented without embellishment.
However, it is the illustrations that bring the words to life. Glowing colours, bold double spreads that obliterate the gutter creating a wide vista, and vignettes that expand the storyline, all combine with the charmingly naive bear to create real visual excitement – but without gimmicks. We step into the forest the moment we open the book – a place of flickering colour and silence. At the end the bear and his friend stand facing a future of bright light and possibilities – but the forest world is still there.
Here is a new young illustrator with a distinctive style and talent; I look forward to seeing his next book.