Hector, an older white man, and Hugo, a scruffy white dog, have been friends for a very long time.
Hector’s passion is playing the fiddle, but the times have changed around him. His music doesn’t draw much attention these days—the audiences are flocking instead to the ursine virtuoso introduced in The Bear and the Piano (2016). Hector decides to retire. Hugo isn’t ready to let go of the music, though, so he picks up Hector’s fiddle and starts to play. To Hector’s surprise, Hugo is good…very good! Soon Hugo is getting the admiration and opportunity that Hector always dreamed of but never found. He supports his friend yet feels pangs of jealousy when Hugo is invited on tour with the world-famous piano-playing bear. In his jealousy, Hector says some hurtful things he may not be able to take back. By using concrete language to describe Hector’s feelings (“Hector’s tummy hurt a bit when he saw everyone in the neighborhood nodding along”) and behaviors (“Hugo put his head on Hector’s knee, but Hector pushed him away”), Litchfield makes real and palpable the abstract concept of jealousy and its consequences. The same emotive tenderness that characterized his earlier debut imbues this sequel. There is much to explore, discuss, and ponder over for adults and children alike.
An accessible and enjoyable portrayal of the complexities of friendship, jealousy, and forgiveness. (Picture book. 4-8)