Boys worked harder for things they wanted in the days when Carl Carmer was growing up in a small up-state New York town. And this story of Bob, who thought he was going to get the violin he wanted the easy way, is a might-be-true story of another small boy growing up. At first, luck comes too easily his way -- then he learns that soap wrapper premiums aren't all the ads say. But his desire is fired, and painfully, with successive set backs due to his own thoughtlessness, or his faith in get-rich-quick plans, he acquires the $20 he needs to buy the violin that he was using on loan. There's a good picture of small town life, the excitement of the circus, adventures along the Eris Canal, the County Fair. As a story it somehow does not hold a sense of pace, but it has regional values and reasonably good characterizations.