The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield

A bear cub discovers a piano in the forest, but he has no idea what it is. Touching the keys, he’s appalled by the sound it makes. He walks away, yet the next day and every day afterward for years he’s inexplicably drawn back to it until he becomes a proficient pianist. Soon, other bears gather around to listen to him.

The bears aren’t the only ones who notice him. One night, a man and his daughter come upon the forest concert. Impressed by the bear’s ability, they invite him to come to the city and perform on Broadway. Though the bear worries that his friends will miss him, he goes to the city and becomes famous.

But renown leaves the bear feeling empty. He decides to return home. Though he fears that his friends have forgotten him, he travels back to the forest, finding that, though he had left them, they had not left him.

Earth-tone illustrations—sometimes playful, at other times reflective—help this picture book show the wonder of artistic discovery, the tension and sadness of leaving home, and the joy of being loved by faithful friends. Ages 4 and up. (Clarion)

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