The Trumpet of the Swan

( 63 )


Luois is a Trumpeter Swan who came into the world lacking a voice. When his father explained to him that he was different from other cygnets, Louis felt scared. His father, however, promised to help.

Sam Beaver, a boy who loved all wild things, took Louis to school, where he learned to read and write. This was a help, but it did not solve his major problem: he was in love with the beautiful swan, Serena, and she spurned him because he was defective. And that was when Louis's ...

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The Trumpet of the Swan

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Luois is a Trumpeter Swan who came into the world lacking a voice. When his father explained to him that he was different from other cygnets, Louis felt scared. His father, however, promised to help.

Sam Beaver, a boy who loved all wild things, took Louis to school, where he learned to read and write. This was a help, but it did not solve his major problem: he was in love with the beautiful swan, Serena, and she spurned him because he was defective. And that was when Louis's father, the old cob, did a difficult thing - he put honor aside and stole a trumpet so his son would be able to woo his love.

Louis's determination to become a trumpeter and pay off his father's debt takes him far from the wilderness he loves. But he succeeds and wins the swan of his desiring.

Louis, a voiceless Trumpeter swan, finds himself far from his wilderness home when he determines to communicate by learning to play a stolen trumpet.

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Editorial Reviews

The eventful life of Louis, a voiceless trumpeter swan, from hatching to contented fatherhood. Humor abounds and beauty of nature, of relationships, of time passing shines through [in a] story that will captivate children of all ages.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064408677
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Edition description: Collectors
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 59,917
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

E. B. White

E. B. White, the author of such beloved classics as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan, was born in Mount Vernon, New York. He graduated from Cornell University in 1921 and, five or six years later, joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine, then in its infancy. He died on October 1, 1985, and was survived by his son and three grandchildren.

Mr. White's essays have appeared in Harper's magazine, and some of his other books are: One Man's Meat, The Second Tree from the Corner, Letters of E. B. White, Essays of E. B. White, and Poems and Sketches of E. B. White. He won countless awards, including the 1971 National Medal for Literature and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, which commended him for making a "substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children."

During his lifetime, many young readers asked Mr. White if his stories were true. In a letter written to be sent to his fans, he answered, "No, they are imaginary tales . . . But real life is only one kind of life—there is also the life of the imagination."

Fred Marcellino's picture books include Puss in Boots, a Caldecott Honor Book; The Steadfast Tin Soldier, an ALA Booklist Children's Editors' Choice; and The Pelican Chorus, one of School Library Journal's Best Books of the Year.

His most recent books, The Story of Little Babaji and Ouch! are both ALA Notable Children's Books.

Dancing By the Light of the Moon: The Art of Fred Marcellino will open on November 9, 2002 and run through January 26, 2003 at The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. This is a comprehensive show of more than 150 pieces highlighting his children's book career, and the first museum retrospective honoring the artistic accomplishments of this remarkable artist. For more information visit, The Norman Rockwell Museum website.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Elwyn Brooks White (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 11, 1899
    2. Place of Birth:
      Mount Vernon, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      October 1, 1985
    2. Place of Death:
      North Brooklin, Maine

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

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

"I know one thing," he said to himself. "I'm going back to that little pond again tomorrow. And I'd like to go alone. If I tell my father what I saw today, he will want to go with me. I'm not sure that's a very good idea."

Sam was eleven. His last name was Beaver. He was strong for his age and had black hair and dark eyes like an Indian. Sam walked like an Indian, too, putting one toot straight in front of the other and making very little noise. The swamp through which he was traveling was a wild place--there was no trail, and it was boggy underfoot, which made walking difficult. Every four or five minutes Sam took his compass out of his pocket and checked his course to make sure he was headed in a westerly direction. Canada is a big place. Much of it is wilderness. To get lost in the Woods and swamps of western Canada would be a serious matter.

As he trudged on, the boy's mind was full of the wonder of what he had seen. Not in -any people in the world have seen the nest of a Trumpeter Swan. Sam had found one on the lonely pond on this day in spring. He had seen the two great white birds with their long white necks and black bills. Nothing he had ever seen before in all his life had made him feel quite the way he felt, on that wild little pond, in the presence of those two enormous swans. They were so much bigger than any bird he had ever seen before. The nest was big, too--a mound of sticks and grasses. The female was sitting on eggs; the male glided slowly back and forth, guarding her.

When Sam reached camp, tired andhungry, he found his father frying a couple of fish for lunch.

"Where have you been?" asked Mr. Beaver.

"Exploring," replied Sam. "I walked over to a pond about a mile and a half from here. it's the one we see from the air as we're coming in. It isn't much of a place--nowhere near as big as this lake we're on."

"Did you see anything over there?" asked his father.

"Well," said Sam, "it's a swampy pond with a lot of reeds and cattails. I don't think it would be any good for fishing. And it's hard to get to--you have to cross a swamp."

See anything?" repeated Mr. Beaver.

"I saw a muskrat," said Sam, a and a few Redwinged Blackbirds."

Mr. Beaver looked up from the wood stove, where the fish were sizzling in a pan.

"Sam," he said, "I know you like to go exploring. But don't forget--these woods and marshes are not like the country around home in Montana. If you ever go over to that pond again, be careful you don't get lost. I don't like you crossing swamps. They're treacherous. You could step into a soggy place and get bogged down, and there wouldn't be anybody to pull you out."

"I'll be careful,- said Sam. He knew perfectly well he would be going back to the pond where the swans were. And he had no intention of getting lost in the woods. He felt relieved that he had not told his father about seeing the swans, but he felt queer about it, too. Sam was not a sly boy, but he was odd in one respect: he liked to keep things to himself. And he liked being alone, particularly when he was in the woods. He enjoyed the life on his father's cattle ranch in the Sweet Grass country in Montana. He loved his mother. He loved Duke, his cow pony. He loved riding the range. He loved watching guests who came to board at the Beavers' ranch every summer.

But the thing he enjoyed most in life was these camping trips in Canada with his father. Mrs. Beaver didn't care for the woods, so she seldom went along--it was usually just Sam and Mr. Beaver. They would motor to the border and cross into Canada. There Mr. Beaver would hire a bush pilot to fly them to the lake where his camp was, for a few days of fishing and loafing and exploring. Mr. Beaver did most of the fishing and loafing. Sam did the exploring. And then thepilot would return to take them out. His name was Shorty. They would hear the sound of his motor and run out and wave and watch him glide down onto the lake and taxi his plane in to the dock. These were the pleasantest days of Sam's life, these days in the woods, far, far from everywhere--no automobiles, no roads, no people, no noise, no school, no homework, no problems, except the problem of getting lost. And, Of course, the problem of what to be when he grew up. Every boy has that problem.

After supper that evening, Sam and his father sat for a while on the porch. Sam was reading a bird book.

"Pop," said Sam, "do you think we'll be coming back to camp again about a month from now--I mean, in about thirty-five days or something like that?"

"I guess so," replied Mr. Beaver. "I certainly hope so. But why thirty-five days? What's so special about thirty-five days?"

"Oh, nothing,- said Sam. "I just thought it might be very nice around here in thirty-five days."

"That's the craziest thing I ever heard of,- said Mr. Beaver. "It's nice here all the time."

Sam went indoors. He knew a lot about birds, and he knew it would take a swan about thirty-five days to hatch her eggs. He hoped he could he at the pond to see the young ones when they came out of the eggs.

The Trumpet of the Swan. Copyright © by E. White. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 63 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 63 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 1999

    The Great Trumpeter Swan

    The Trumpet of the Swan is a great book for 4th graders - 6th graders. I read this book in 5th grade. I liked the book because it had a boy helping an animal. I love animals, mostly birds, so I greatly enjoyed reading this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2015



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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    The Trumpet of the Swan is a children¿s novel written by E.

    The Trumpet of the Swan is a children’s novel written by E.B White. This book is a folk-tale story about a swan learning how to believe in himself. Sam, a young boy, shows sympathy for a helpless swan that can’t get his voice. The swan’s name is Louis and his father doesn’t like an imperfect family, but he believes that his son may be able to get his voice. Will Louis ever find his voice?

    Sam Beaver is an eleven year old boy that has black hair and brown eyes like an Indian. Sam also walks like an Indian too, and really likes to visit wild places. Sam finds a Trumpeter Swan at the pond and he has never seen anything like that in his life. In chapter four, the cygnets hatch from the eggs and say hi to Sam, but one of them pulls Sam's shoe laces. The male cob is excited that he is a father now. On page 42, the mother swan gets the father's attention due to Louis's lack of voice. She says “Have you noticed anything different about Louis?” The father swan suffers from anxiety because has an imperfect son. 

    Louis thinks about his communication problem and thinks of his own answer. He will learn how to read and write. He carries a slate and chalk and is able to talk to anyone who can read. Louis spends the night at the Ritz. When the Boatman takes Louis to the Ritz, the clerk has a hard time accepting the swan as a guest. Louis does not like his job. On page 179, Louis says “This job is a waste of my time; I could be playing my trumpet right now.” The swans like to go to sleep when the sun goes down, but musicians seem to wake up a sundown and play most of the night. Louis does not enjoy the noise and chaos of the club.

    Louis and Serena come home to the Red Rock Lakes. The old cob receives a letter saying that he has to pay four million dollars to pay for the trumpet damage. Meanwhile, Serena and Louis plan out their life together. The Greening Spring is the finale. Louis and Serena are all set for a wonderful life. 

    The author uses the literary device onomatopoeia by throwing in the word “Ko-hoh, ko-hoh!” The author was describing how the trumpets sound high above in the air. On page 167, the author uses the literary device rhythm and rhyme. He uses this literary device by putting in the lyrics of a song Serena was singing. The song says “Lul- la- by and good night, with-ros-es-be- dight”. This was in her performance before Louis came and surprised her.

    The theme of the book took place in chapter five. Louis knows he’s nothing like his siblings, who have a voice. He tries to fit in and become like the regular kids, but he can’t. On page 46, the father swan says “If it’s really true that Louis has no voice, then I shall provide him with a device of some sort, to enable him to make a lot of noise.” He is showing that he cares about his son and will do anything for him. The theme of this book is family is the most important thing because his mother and father are concerned about their children and want to help Louis all that they can.

    I would give this book four stars because it’s a great book where lessons can be taught and learned and I would recommend it to anyone. One of those lessons is to never give up and to believe in yourself. Louis gave up because he could never find his voice, but in the end he found ways he could find it.

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  • Posted December 25, 2011

    A must...

    A wonderful, timeless classic. For my new grandson's collection.

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  • Posted September 27, 2011

    love it - you have to read it

    I love . it is a good story and touches your heart.Louis is so smart!!
    Awsome book please read.

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  • Posted May 28, 2011

    hauntingly beautiful and touching

    Louis the swan can't honk! That might not seem too much of a problem until one realizes that this is how he and other swans communicate, and certainly how he can win his lady-love.

    At turns heartwarming and funny, this is has always been one of my favorite children's books. highly recommended.

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  • Posted April 15, 2010

    The Trumpet of the Swan (1970) Written by E. B. White

    E. B. White writes a great fiction book about a swan, Loius, who learns how to communicate in an interesting way.
    "The Trumpet of the Swan" is a book about a swan who is born different than all of the other swans. He can't talk!
    Louis knows he could get into school, if only he could learn to read and write. Sam Beaver, a young boy who learns how to communicate with Loius and later becomes his friend, is destined to help Louis get in. But the teacher, Mrs. Hammerbotham, isn't quite sure about having a swan that plays the trumpet in her class.
    I really enjoyed this book because it was fun to follow along with Louis' story of how he leanrs to communicate with others. one weakness about this book is that there are many chapters in the book and the words are small so it would be difficult for younger readers.
    I would recomend "The Trumpet of the Swan" for younger readers because the vocabulary is easy to understand and I think that they would like this book more than an older audience.
    My overall rating of this book is a four out of five star book.
    E. B. White has also written some other great and very enjoyable books such as "Charlotte's Web" and "Stewart Little".


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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Such a joy!

    At my granddaughter's urging, and as this book was one I used to read to her when she was a child, she wanted her son to reap the same rewards from the story she did. I can hardly wait to read the story to him. It is a wonderful lesson on perseverance.

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  • Posted July 28, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I like the book

    I liked the book because it shares a story of a bird and a boy living life

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

    Great for reading out loud to pre-kindergartner

    While the concepts can be mature for a preschooler, they were easily simplified and discussed with my 4.5 year old daughter. Out of the 20 chapter books I've read to her, this was by far her favorite (and mine). The thought of a swan that can write on a chalkboard is hilarious to my daughter. This is a classic to be read time and time again. We now give this book to 4 and 5 year olds for their birthdays. It's very under-rated as a read-aloud.

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  • Posted April 30, 2009

    Good Book

    This was a good book because it followed the swan from birth and told the story from his point of view. The swan thought like a human, which was weird. I read this book in five days. Nine-year-old reviewer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2008

    The best book I ever opened

    Louis the Swan is a trumpeter swan who can't make a peep. His father steals a trumpet so he can woo his love, Serena. Of course, Louis the Swan has a big heart, and wants to help his dad pay for his debt because Louis's Dad 'stole' the trumpet. Go on a high flying adventure that is heartwarming, creative and is a very descriptive story. Read the Trumpet of the Swan Today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2008


    I read this as a child in the second or third grade for a class and it filled me so much that about eight years later I'm still reeling over it. It's a great book to buy for your kids and teaches them that not only is it okay to be different, but to follow your dreams. It also teaches a child that it doesn't matter what the differences, you can be friends with a wide variety of people, even if they aren't just like you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2008

    A heart warming book

    This book will warm just about any person's heart

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2007

    The other Louis

    I love this little gem of a book! Sam, 11-year-old boy, discovers the nest of a trumpeter swan family, one of which baby swans is born without a voice. This is the story of Louis the swan's persistance and determination to gain the heart of his true-love, even though he has no voice with which to woo her. I love the old cobb, who fancies himself a wise and poetic bird, and who waxes eloquent and long-winded on many an occasion. White has a dry and wonderful sense of humor! If you never read this when you were 10, it's time to go back and read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2007

    Winning someone's affection

    This is a children's tale of romance that brings the heart into play when a trumpet swan has to go way out of his way and then(artificially) call on his love with a 'real' trumpet. Most would think she should love him for who he is, but then she does, since who he is is a determined male swan that wants to love a female swan and wants her love in return.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2007

    This is the best book I ever read!

    This book is famnoninal! I love this book and all of it's vocabulary. The pictures are also very good,there in balck and white but still very detailed and pretty. If you ever get a chance to buy it or rent this book I would recamend it for anyone who likes to read about funny stuff and you would also like it if you like swans!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2006

    Swan Song...

    This book has hillariose moments that i was laughing for so long. This is a comedy and adventure book and its hard to mix those two together...... this is by far one of the BEST books i've ever read and i dont read a lot of books. This one just caught my eye!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2006

    my favorite book i ever read

    This is the best book I have ever read! I enjoyed this book. My favorite charter was louis, the swan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2006

    Trumpeter Swans

    The genre of my book is double fantasy which means animal characters and human characters speak. The book I am reading talks about swans, and these swans aren't just regular swans they are trumpeter swans. Trumpeter swans are big white birds with powerful wings. In this story there is a little boy named Sam who likes to explore. While Sam was exploring he walked into the swans land, so they seen him as a threat and were ready too attack him but the mother swan told her husband not to do anything since the was not bothering her.The reason why the swans seen Sam as a threat because he was a human being and they are used to humans trying to harm them.A couple of weeks later the swans had four new baby trumpeter swans that were good and healthy.One day all the swans were playing in the pond and the mother noticed that one of her swans was not saying anything but the mother didn't think anything of it.So another day all the swans were playing and the mother noticed that one of her swans wasn't saying anything again so she mentioned it to her husband and he said he didn't see anything unusual with that particular swan.One day the famiy went out for flying lessons and all the other swans were making noises and that same swan was not saying anything.The parents finally discovered that one of there swans had a speech problem.Sam later seen the swan alone and noticed to that the swan was very quiet.The swan decided maybe if he wore a board around his neck to communicate with the other animals all he would have to do is go to school and learn how to read and write, but that didn't work out to well because he still could not trumpet.One day the swan broke into a instrument store and stole a trumpet o he could be able to trumpet and talk to other animals.Every since that day the swan has not had any problems with communicating.

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