Thursday, March 23, 2017

Trumpet of the Swan

Trumpet of the Swan. E.B. White. Illustrated by Fred Marcellino. 1970. 272 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Walking back to camp through the swamp, Sam wondered whether to tell his father what he had seen.

Premise/plot: Louis is a trumpeter swan who can't trumpet. But with the help of his human friend, Sam, and his father (a cob) who steals a trumpet from a music store, his handicap is overcome. Sam helps him by taking him to school, to his public school and enrolling him in first grade. He learns to read and write. When he returns to his family it is with slate and slate pencil. His father thinking of his future happiness--how can he woo a mate without a voice of his own--steals a trumpet. Louis practices on his own before turning to Sam for advice and help. At this time Sam teaches him about money and working to earn it. Louis feels guilty that his trumpet is stolen and not paid for. Until this wrong has been righted, Louis is very active with the human world around him. He becomes a musician with an agent taking jobs in Boston and Philadelphia. But it is freedom and love he longs for most. Will Serena ever be his?!

My thoughts: I first read this one the summer before sixth grade. It was a great read. I don't know why it's taken me so long to reread it. Loved Sam and Louis. Louis's father was very amusing in his pontificating.

Curiosity is celebrated throughout the book. Sam is a curious person. Because of this quality he becomes a good friend and even at times a hero. He discovers his life's calling as well. Life is wonder-filled to him. He treasures what he sees and hears. His observations are kept in a daily journal. Seeing the world through the eyes of both Sam and Louis is a treat.

  • The world is full of talkers, but it is rare to find anyone who listens. (50)
  • "Great Caesar's ghost!" cried the teacher. "Look at those wings! Well, his name is Louis--that's for sure. All right, Louis, you may join the class. Stand right here by the blackboard. And don't mess up the room, either! If you need to go outdoors for any reason, raise one wing." (71)
  • "Sam, if a man can walk three miles in one hour, how many miles can he walk in four hours?" "It would depend on how tired he got after the first hour," replied Sam. (76)
  • Everyone is entitled to his likes and dislikes and to his prejudices. Come to think of it, I don't care for pistachio ice cream. I don't know why I don't like it, but I don't. (114) 

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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