Looking for a beautiful, resonant book to talk about jealousy with your children? THE BEAR, THE PIANO, THE DOG, AND THE FIDDLE, by David Litchfield, is the story for you!
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Why we Adore THE BEAR, THE PIANO, THE DOG, AND THE FIDDLE
Jealousy is a tough burden to bear.
Whether it’s jealousy of a sibling, a classmate, or even a best friend, it’s one of those emotions that can eat us alive (even us adults!) and cause major unease and anxiety. In children, jealousy can be all consuming and utterly difficult to understand. Imagine being a kid again, one who feels green with envy over something her very best friend has or gets to take part in. It is a confusing feeling with complexities even the most emotionally intelligent kids grapple with.
Thus, when a book comes along that helps a child understand jealousy, and that book is filled with gorgeous, atmospheric artwork and beloved characters to boot, I’m all about it.
Who remembers David Litchfield’s THE BEAR AND THE PIANO from a couple of years ago?
THE BEAR AND THE PIANO was published when Happily Ever Elephants was first getting started, and it was one of those books I fell hard for because of the way it spoke of following dreams but always remembering that home is where the heart is. It was tender, resonant and perfect, and it continues to remain a favorite of ours.
And now, Litchfield has brought us a wonderful companion book, THE BEAR, THE PIANO, THE DOG, AND THE FIDDLE, and we love it too!!
In THE BEAR, THE PIANO, THE DOG, AND THE FIDDLE, a dog and his human have a mutual adoration — playing the fiddle! Hugo the dog loves listening to Hector play the fiddle, so when Hector decides to retire, Hugo secretly teaches himself to play this fine instrument. And guess what? Hugo has skills. So much so, that the famous piano playing Bear invites Hugo to play in his traveling animal band on stages all over the world.
Hugo is thrilled. Hector? Not so much.
After all, Hugo is going to live the dream that Hector always had for himself — but Hector’s dream never came to fruition. Will Hector be able to sideline his envy and cheer on Hugo’s success? Or is the friendship between Hector and his beloved Hugo doomed for good?
Friendship. Fighting. Forgiveness: Why THE BEAR, THE PIANO, THE DOG, AND THE FIDDLE is so important to read with children!
I love seeing these themes conveyed in a picture book and, even more so, I love when books don’t necessarily show an outright apology but instead convey how friends forgive one another for things both said and unsaid through their meaningful actions. Words, after all, can sometimes be empty, or even said disingenuously. And that is not the message we want to give to our children.
THE BEAR, THE PIANO, THE DOG AND THE FIDDLE expresses that true friends will naturally have conflict. Our words can sting one another. We can be thrilled for our friends’ achievements, but also totally and completely envious of those achievements at the same time. These feelings are real and authentic, but perhaps most importantly, they are universal.
Yet, despite their commonality, feelings of envy are not easy to sit with. And we need to talk with our children about them.
THE BEAR, THE PIANO, THE DOG, AND THE FIDDLE gives us a fabulous “in” — an excellent starting point to communicate about these unsettling emotions. Questions such as “have you ever wished you had something your friend has?”, “how did you feel when your friend got the part in the show you wanted?”, or “do you feel happy for your friend, but also kind of angry?” are perfect conversation starters, and they are totally organic and natural after reading this beautiful story. This is one of those meaningful books you won’t necessarily realize you needed until you are sitting and having these important discussions with your kids — and then you will be so grateful that THE BEAR, THE PIANO, THE DOG, AND THE FIDDLE was in front of you to help spark these significant discussions.
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Want the book? Get it here! THE BEAR, THE PIANO, THE DOG, AND THE FIDDLE, by David Litchfield. *HEE received an copy of this book from the publisher, but all opinions expressed herein are entirely our own.