Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package

Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package

Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator:  Chris Van Dusen 
Fiction  Series
For ages 6 to 8
Candlewick, 2018   ISBN: 978-1536203530

Eugenia Lincoln in a very practical person. In fact, she takes being sensible to new heights and therefore has no time for anything frivolous. No time at all. She is therefore not at all pleased when a very large and unexpected package arrives at her door. As far as she is concerned an unexpected package is “annoying,” and the people who would send such a thing are “inconsiderate.” Eugenia even tries to refuse the package but the postman insists that she must accept it.

Eugenia’s sister and her neighbors are all thrilled about the package. They like surprises and unexpected packages. With Baby Lincoln, Mrs. Watson, Mercy Watson the pig, and Frank all watching, Eugenia reluctantly opens the package. To everyone’s surprise the package contains an accordion; a frivolous and complete waste-of-time object which Eugenia is determined to return to the company that sent it to her.

She soon learns that the company in question will not take the accordion back. In their opinion “Accordions belong with their people,” and that is the end of it. Eugenia is stuck with a musical instrument that she does not want, and this makes her very frustrated indeed. After writing a list itemizing how she might get rid of the accordion, Eugenia puts an advertisement in the paper. She will sell the wretched thing and be done with it.

The very next day a small, round, and toothy man called Gaston LaTreaux knocks on the Lincoln sisters’ door. He has come about the accordion but, alas, it turns out that he does not want to buy the instrument. Instead, he is a music teacher and he is there to teach Eugenia how to play the accordion. Eugenia is appalled. She does not want to learn how to play the accordion; she wants to get rid of it. Gaston tries to encourage Eugenia to play and to let her inner musician bloom, to let the music in her heart come out, but Eugenia refuses. She is going to have to do something to restore her life to its previous state; it needs to be ordered, predictable, and sensible once more.

This fourth book in the Tales from Deckawoo Drive series is an absolute charmer. Children will so enjoy seeing how Eugenia Lincoln copes when her life is upsettled by the arrival of an unwanted musical instrument. Could it be that being shoved out of one’s comfort zone can actually be a good thing?