No matter how far you make it in life, no matter how much success and renown you gather, you must always remember to look back, for there lies the most important "audience" of all. The idea of a piano-playing bear becoming famous may be amusing and fictitious, but this story and message are earnest and highly relatable. The Bear in the Piano teaches children to be grateful for the support they receive, in an unobtrusive way, by showing a career at a glance. When an unnamed bear discovers an abandoned piano in the forest, he begins to play with it. His initial curiosity gradually turns into a serious passion, and he eventually becomes good enough to garner the attention of all the other bears in the forest. His desire to expand his skills leads him to the city, where he gains fans and fame, but even with all that he has, he feels that something is missing. So he heads back home, and it is there that he finds what he really needs. Litchfield's mixed media art gives off a kind vibe; you just want to hug the cute and rotund bear, and the forest is an idyllic, light-filled place. Every page is full of colour (the mahogany, vine covered piano looks like a treasure), and the detailed line work gives everything character. Overall, The Bear and the Piano is a gorgeous book that encourages children to follow their dreams, without forgetting their roots.

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