7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #481: Featuring David Litchfield

h1 May 1st, 2016 by jules


It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means that here in 7-Imp Land I take a look at the work of an up-and-coming illustrator. Today, instead of a student, I’ve got a debut author-illustrator. David Litchfield’s new book, The Bear and the Piano (Clarion), was evidently inspired (in part) by the White Stripes’ song “Little Room.” It was published in the U.K. last year but arrived on U.S. shelves at the beginning of this month.

In this story, a bear cub stumbles across a piano in a forest clearing. Unsure of what it is, he is nonetheless fascinated by it and plays it for years, as he grows into a big, strong grizzly bear. He learns to master the instrument and dreams, as he plays, of far-off lands. The other bears in the forest love to gather ’round and hear him play, but so do a young girl and her father, who spot them one day. The girl asks if he’ll head to the city with her and perform there. He does so and is met with great success and fame. But his misses home and longs for his friends. So he heads back.

Now, I can’t ruin the ending for you, especially if you’ll want to read this one yourself. So I’ll stop there.

Evidently, Litchfield, who lives in the U.K., created the mixed media illustrations using various traditional techniques, which he then assembled digitally. He plays with textures to great effect in this artwork, and his landscapes are atmospheric and multilayered. In both the forest and city scenes, he depicts light in precise and splendid ways. (Note the cover below!) Here’s a bit more art from the book:


(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


“So after the bear had told his friends about his life in the city, and the many concerts he had played, he sat down to play once more.
This time, for the most important audience of all.”

(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge cover)


THE BEAR AND THE PIANO. Copyright © 2015 by David Litchfield. First published in the U.K. in 2015 by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. Published in the U.S. in 2016. Illustrations used by permission of the publisher, Clarion Books.


Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) Children’s book people are, by and large, the nicest bunch of people I’ve ever met. I already knew this, but I was reminded of that this weekend.

2) Yesterday was Independent Bookstore Day.

3) I survived story time at my favorite independent bookstore (Parnassus Books in Nashville) with lots of extra people (more than on a normal Saturday) and really antsy toddlers.

4) When your friend’s luck goes from bad to good.

5) The novels the girls and I are reading now.

6) Good editing.

7) Playing a piano piece this week that gives me confidence. I bet I don’t play as well as Bear, though.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

6 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #481: Featuring David Litchfield”

  1. A bear and a piano in the woods. Love this concept. Made me smile.
    Jules, what are you reading with the girls?
    Kicks1-7: Seattle to visit nieces and friends.
    Have a great week.

  2. Good morning, Imps! Happy May!

    Hello to The Bear and the Piano and David Litchfield! So cool that the book was inspired by a song. It looks like a fun read. Hope it inspires young readers to try playing an instrument!

    Jules: Glad that you had a fun Independent Bookstore Day experience! Keep playing that piano. 🙂

    Jone: Enjoy your visit.

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Simple
    2) Known
    3) Prepared
    4) Treat
    5) Remember
    6) Ease
    7) Fill

  3. Love that bear and the piano!

    Jules – hooray for surviving story time, and for your friend’s luck changing, and nice people. Sounds like a great week.

    Jone – enjoy Seattle!

    LW -Simple, Prepared & Ease are wonderful kicks.

    My quick kicks this week:
    1) The Blazers made it to the next round of the playoffs.
    2) Lemonade. So visually stunning & raw. replaying the music over & over. Plus all the conversations & thinkpieces written about it.
    3) Todd Snider and his music.
    4) Obama at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
    5) Achieving small goals.
    6) Going to a First Communion. All those cute, sincere, earnest little faces. Plus the kiddo I was there to see was really great when she did the reading. And fun party afterwards.
    7) Important connections that last. So nice.
    7.5) Breakfast with Daisy in the sunshine.

    Have a wonderful week Imps!

  4. Jone, thank you again for my poetry postcard, which I completely blanked on in my kicks. … To answer your question, we are reading Adam Rex’s Smekday (that’s right — I’d not read it before) and From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler — and we’re about to start some other great ones. … Happy travels, Jone!

    Little Willow: “Ease” is a pretty rich kick.

    Rachel: That Correspondents’ dinner was pretty flippin’ great, huh? I love that literal mic drop at the end. Love your seventh kick. That’s what it’s all about. Hugs to Daisy.

    Have a good week, all!

  5. So looking forward to this one! I’ve had it on hold for quite some time now :0

  6. […] And for more on this stunning story, art from the book, and its inspiration from a song by The White Stripes, check out this post from Jules at Seven Impossible Things. […]

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