When Eugenia Lincoln receives an accordion from an anonymous benefactor, she is not impressed. At first she tries to return it to the manufacturer, but they do not take returns. When she puts an advert in the paper to sell it, a Monsieur Gaston LaTreaux arrives at her doorstep. Rather than purchasing the instrument, he has arrived to give Eugenia lessons.
The problem of course is that Eugenia is a no nonsense, seriously in control kind of person. Playing the accordion, especially given the feelings it triggers in her, is just too scary to deal with. After an evening of frivolity by everyone but her, Eugenia decides to get rid of the blasted accordion once and for all. Thankfully, she runs into Stella Endicot who shows her that playing the accordion is not such a terrible thing.
By the end of the book the secret of who ordered the accordion is revealed, but I shall leave it for you to read and find out for yourself.
I read this book at least three times. I loved it. Chris Van Dusen's illustrations add joy and humour into the tale. Yet there was something niggling me, something disturbing that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Eventually I realized that I was finding bit of myself in Eugenia. It wasn't comfortable. I too am a bossy, responsible elder sibling. My two younger brothers and two younger sisters probably agree that is a good thing that we do not live together. Somewhere in storage I even have an accordian that someone gave me. I kept it hoping that my musical sons would play it. I have now come to realize its purpose. Unfortunately, I doubt a Monsieur Gaston LaTreaux will come along and magically teach me to play. I will just have to make sure that I keep on singing.
I suspect there is a bit of Eugenia in all of us.
Those of you who know of Kate DiCamilla's work understand that she writes important books for children. What you might not know is that under the guise of writing for children, she writes important books for adults. Her Deckawoo Drive stories show how our interactions with children ensures our own metamorphosis. Thank you Kate for showing us we are never to old to change and be the best we can be.
For more information about the series you can read about Baby Lincoln here, Francine Poulet here, and Leroy Ninkers here.