Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Bear, The Piano, The Dog and the Fiddle

The Bear, The Piano, The Dog and the Fiddle

by Mark Warner
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Buy This Book * More books by David Litchfield

Hector and his dog Hugo have made music together through good times, bad times and even some crazy times. But when Hugo learns to play the fiddle, and gets the chance to play with Bear’s Big Band, Hector’s jealousy gets the better of him. Can Hector swallow his pride and learn to be happy for his friend?


  • Read the first book in this series. Which do you prefer? Why?
  • Could you plan and write another book about Bear and his piano?
  • Retell the story from Hector’s or Hugo’s points of view. You could write a diary entry that shares the character’s feelings at various points.
  • Write a prequel that describes some of the adventures that Hector and Hugo might have had together.
  • Hugo doesn’t talk in this story. Can you think of some speech for him?
  • Think of some thought bubbles to add to the illustrations at different points.
  • Write a newspaper article about the dog who plays the fiddle on the city’s rooftops in the early hours of the morning.
  • Write a review of Bear’s Big Band show for a newspaper.
  • Write some questions for an interview with Hector about his talented dog. How might he respond?
  • Could you write a new page to add to the story somewhere or an alternative ending?
  • Record a narrated version of the story. Here is an example:


  • Investigate how we hear sounds.


  • Design a website or some social media posts to promote Hugo’s performances.
  • Use publishing software to design some tickets for the show.
  • Try to animate a scene from this story.
  • Use coding tools (e.g. Scratch) to make a simple electronic instrument.

Design Technology:

  • Could you make your own musical instruments (e.g. a rubber band guitar or a simple drum)?
  • Design the stage for Bear’s next show.


  • Create some illustrations of some other amazing musical animals who could be in Bear’s Big Band.
  • Create a comic strip that retells the main events of the story.
  • Choose one of the illustrations and make a copy of half of it. Can you complete the other half?
  • Look at the illustrations and try to create your own pictures in a similar style.
  • Create a sketchbook of your own and add your own doodles. Over time, use some of the ideas to make a comic or a story. In the following video, David Litchfield shares examples of illustrations from his own sketchbook:


  • Learn about the musical instruments mentioned in this story. How do they make sounds? How are they played?
  • Write a report about one of the instruments. Add a labelled diagram to show the different parts of it.
  • Could you compose your own song about friendship?


  • Bear and Hugo want to play for hundreds of thousands of people. Plan a tour for them. Which places could they visit?


  • Find out about musical instruments from the past. How are they changed throughout history?
  • Listen to different styles of music from the past. Which is your favourite?
  • Ask older friends and family about the types of music they have listened to throughout their lives.
  • Learn about a composer / musical artist / band from the past.


  • Can you find out the names of different musical instruments (or musical terms) in other languages?


  • Look at each page and discuss how Hector feels at different points (e.g. when he decides to stop playing music, when he first discovers Hugo can play, when he plays on stage at the end of the book).
  • Hector becomes jealous of Hugo at one point. Can you think of a time when you have been jealous of somebody or something? How did you react?
  • Hugo helps his friend to perform on stage at the end of the story. What could you do to help a friend today?

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