book review, Children's Writing, Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package, Giveaway, Justin Weinberger, Kate DiCamillo, Reformed, Writing

Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package — Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“What separates the talented individual from the successful one
is a lot of hard work.” 
~ Stephen King ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Are you ready to start an agent search? Nathan Branford has a TERRIFIC post HERE to help you land the right agent for you. 
Greg Pattridge at Always in the Middle recently completed an SCBWI mentorship program. His first post HERE about some of the things he learned is absolutely dashing! His blog is always worth your time. 

Writers Helping Writers is always good, but the post HERE by Angela Ackerman is chock full of helpful links for writers. Check it out. 

Last week I offered an ARC of Reformed by Justin Weinberger. The reaction to mention of peanut allergies was eye-opening for me. I don’t know a soul who has that allergy, but it’s clear many of you do and that it’s really a frightening problem. The winner this week is Patty Hawthorn. Congratulations, Patty! I will get the book out to you this week. For the rest of you, I have another fun giveaway, so please keep reading.

A couple years ago, my daughter Maggie, the actor, worked at the Utah Shakespeare Festival as an on-stage musician. During her time there she learned to play the accordion. One of my all-time favorite bumper stickers says, “Play an Accordion. Go to Jail. It’s the law.” I always thought it was hysterically funny, and then my daughter learned to play one. AND that particular talent helped get her a job in the national tour of Once, a fabulous musical. I still think accordions are a little funny. What does all this have to do with my blog? Read on, my friends, and you will know.  

I was contacted by a Candlewick Press publicist with an offer for some ARCs for review. I chose a few off the list and received review copies a few weeks ago. I am trying to find time in my busy schedule to get these in. The first one I picked up is Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package by Kate DiCamillo. First, I really like her books. Secondly, her books for very young middle-grade readers are usually quick and fun. This book is no exception.

Eugenia Lincoln is a cranky old woman who lives with her sweet sister, Baby Lincoln. One day a mysterious package arrives addressed to Eugenia. Inside is an accordion! (This made me think that I am not the only one tickled by the very idea of accordions. I think Kate DiCamillo and I have something in common.) Eugenia is clearly annoyed that someone has sent this to her, and she immediately goes about trying to get rid of the thing. She runs an ad to sell it, and an interesting character, Gaston La Treaux, shows up at her door. Eugenia thinks he is there to buy the accordion, but La Treaux announces he is there to teach her to make beautiful music with her new instrument. The entire neighborhood seems interested in these happenings, showing up and seeming to have an entirely different agenda than that of Eugenia. How all this untangles itself and what the outcome is is predictably funny and charming, as are all the DiCamillo early middle-grade books I have read. The exaggerated and cartoonish drawings by Chris Van Dusen that accompany this funny story are perfect to complete it. If you are a fan of books for this age, this one is not to be missed. It’s terribly cute.

Kate DiCamillo

I have a gently-read ARC of this book to share with one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don’t forget to check out Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

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