One day, a young bear stumbles upon something he has never seen before in the forest. As time passes, he teaches himself how to play the strange instrument, and eventually the beautiful sounds are heard by a father and son who are picnicking in the woods. The bear goes with them on an incredible journey to New York, where his piano playing makes him a huge star. He has fame, fortune and all the music in the world, but he misses the friends and family he has left behind.
Watch this animation that was created to promote the book. Could you create your own animated trailer?
Look at the illustration of the forest on the inside covers. How were they created? Could you create your own images of a forest using similar techniques? A brief description of how David Litchfield created the images can be found at the back of the book.
When the bear is learning to play the piano, different illustrations show the same scene at different times of the year. Could you create a similar sequence of images?
The author's heroes and biggest influences are Albert Uderzo, Jon Klassen and Shaun Tan. Can you find out more about these people? Can you see any of their influences in this book?
Write a report that explains how a piano works.
Can you learn how to play a tune on the piano (or teach somebody else how to play)?
Listen to different pieces of music that include a piano.
When the bear plays, he dreams of strange and wonderful lands. Listen to a piece of piano music and draw / write / describe what it makes you dream of.
The author was inspired by The White Stripes' song, 'Little Room'. What songs inspire you and why?
The bear plays his piano on Broadway. Where is this? Can you find out more about it and write a travel guide?
Can you find out about the history of the piano? Who invented it? How has it changed?
In order to be a good piano player, the bear has to practise for days, weeks, months and years. When have you had to practise something for a long period of time?
The bear sees something 'that made his fur stand on end'. What does this mean? Have you ever felt a similar feeling?
The bear's friends hang special objects in the tree above the piano. Could you create something similar to record your own special achievements and memories?