In an appealing Canadian import, Gillmor takes an offbeat approach to the dreaded subject of music lessons. Sarah Pipkin's little brother is named Frederic, after Chopin, and his parents are sure he will be musical. But Mr. Stricter, the piano teacher, and Mrs. Lumply, the clarinet teacher, can't do a thing with him. Even leaving his clarinet on the bus doesn't save Frederic from subsequent trials with an oboe, a violin, and a banjo. However, when Frederic attends Sarah's youth orchestra concert, the conductor captures his fancy. When the house fills with relatives for his seventh birthday party, Frederic makes music by conducting them all in a song he hears in his head. The illustrations, with their exaggerated figures, limpid watercolors, and nervous line, are full of great touches: Mr. Stricter's dog barks allegro vivace; Mrs. Lumply's pets wear earplugs and earmuffs when carroty-haired Frederic plays; the conductor, and later Frederic himself, produce great ribbons of musical notation that reach out to touch the audience.