The Trumpet of the Swan

The Trumpet of the Swan


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Knowing how to read and write is not enough for Louis, a voiceless Trumpeter Swan—his determination to learn to play a stolen trumpet takes him far from his wilderness home. American children's classic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812427776
Publisher: Harpercollins Childrens Books
Publication date: 09/01/1981
Pages: 257
Sales rank: 394,736
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 8 - 11 Years

About the Author

A legendary writer for decades at The New Yorker and the author of many books of essays, E. B. White also wrote the children's classics Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan. He lived in New York City and 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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The Trumpet of the Swan 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.