Two years ago a most marvellous picture book was released. I ordered it, received it on the day of release, read it to every single person I came across, and it become one of my all time favourite and most loved picture books. That book was The Bear and the Piano written and illustrated by David Litchfield, published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.
You can read the review of this remarkable story here:
Book Monsters Review – The Bear and the Piano
My review of The Bear and the Piano is one of my earliest Book Monster reviews, but still one of my favourites. The story is about a bear cub who finds a piano in the forest where he lives, and after a flew plinky plonky beginnings, learns to play beautiful music. His talent takes him away from his home and friends, to the city, where he plays to huge audiences, standing ovations and critical acclaim. But the bear misses his friends and home. It’s the most perfectly executed, heartfelt story you’ll ever read about friendship, following your dreams and home.
Well guess what!! It’s not over for the bear and his piano, because he’s now been released with sounds! Yes you heard it!! SOUNDS! There’s nothing more that I love than an interactive book. They enhance storytime sessions, engage young children and bring a new dimension to stories, whether it be through flaps, pop-ups, puppets or, like this story, sounds. It’s the ideal book to add the sound element to as the whole story centres around music! I have to say, it’s been done extraordinarily well. Every few pages is a clearly marked area you can press to hear a sound related to the page and story. It goes from an out of tune PLONK from the little bear cub when he finds the piano initially, to beautiful, melodic music as his skill develops. Some of the little tunes I’m sure you’ll recognise, but if you don’t, I know you’ll still love them. The music not only adds a new dimension to the story and helps it really come to life, but it’s just so joyful that you have to smile on every button press.
Books with interactive elements such as this add to make a story potentially more interesting to children who struggle with their reading or find books boring. Children with dyslexia, sight difficulties and younger readers. It all helps in book accessibility when it’s as well done as this! Watch the video below to see a summary of the story and examples of the beautiful sounds.
The Bear and the Piano belongs in every home, every school and every library. It’s a treasure. I didn’t think I could love this beautifully illustrated and written story any more than I already do, and yet, here I am, loving it all the more!! And that’s why it’s number 1 on my Book Monsters advent calendar. Well done David and Frances Lincoln books!