Everyone has a story from childhood that they remember and sometimes revisit. This little gem is EB White's lesser known work compared to Charlotte's Web or Stuart Little but no less powerful. It is touching and strong because it there is no bad guy, no evil character or even a protagonist, just about Louis the swan and how he overcomes his mute handicap with the support and love of his family and friends, growing up and finding love as he does so. White does it amongst the backdrop of an America that is still innocent but familiar to children and lovers of wildlife alike.
I felt for Louis and loved his character and even now can only imagine a grand old swan with his mate flourishing a trumpet.
on 29 September 2011
Could anything be better than 'Charlotte's Web' which had myself and daughters in tears, many years ago. Maybe yes and maybe no. I bought 'The Trumpet of the Swan' because my grandson is called Louis. Stupid reason, but I also wanted to read something else by EB White, apart from 'Charlotte's Web' and 'Stuart Little'. Finally and most importantly I thought the book might encourage my grandson to read.
I decided to read the book prior to sending it to my Louis. I was enchanted with the originality of the story line, how it incorporated the passing of time with a boy growing to manhood, the way the countryside and nature was evoked and just what the swans got up to.
I highly recommend that all children and grownups should read this book.
I only just heard about this for the first time, having grown up with White's Charlotte's Web and more lately Stuart Little. This is a little gem, really, a wonderful story about a swan that's unlike his peers, that has a rather unusual adventure.
Thicker than White's others, it's no harder a read though, the length needn't put young readers off. It may be one I read with my son (4) when he's a little older.
On a Canadian lake during a holiday, Sam Beaver discovers and watches a pair of Trumpeter swans as they hatch their eggs... He befriends the pair and meets their brood - including Louis, the cygnet who finds he is mute. As he grows up, his parents realise that this will prevent him from finding a mate, and his father vows to help him find his voice.
I couldn't see exactly where this would take the characters, so it was an enchanting journey with Louis as he finds an artificial trumpeting sound, and tries to pay back the debt he owes for his voice.
Louis's interaction with humans may be unusual for an animal story (he learns to read and write and interacts with a fair feel for normality), but White has done something similar before - Fern can understand Wilbur and Charlotte, Stuart Little can talk to his human family. It's fantasy but in an everyday setting.
Louis makes a very appealing hero. I loved his verbose father and the David Attenborough-like Sam, their human friend. The story shows a fondness for tranquil natural settings and the quaint feel of big cities of the period.
Now, why not make this into a film*, as Hollywood has done with both of its predecessors? It would make a very sweet cartoon, and the book would get a much-deserved boost as well.
* Since writing this, I have found that a cartoon of the story has been made.
Just as charming, in its own way, as Charlotte and Stuart.
For read-alone, one for ages 8 and above. For shared bedtime reading, age 6-9 would be about right.