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The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White, Fred Marcellino, Fred Marcellino

The delightful classic by E. B. White, author of Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, about overcoming obstacles and the joy of music. Now featuring gorgeous illustrations by Fred Marcellino!

Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can't trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can't even make a sound. And since he can't trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him.

Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena's affection—he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?

"We, and our children, are lucky to have this book." —John Updike

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780064408677
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/03/2000
Edition description: Collectors
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 39,088
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.54(d)
Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

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.

Date of Birth:

July 11, 1899

Date of Death:

October 1, 1985

Place of Birth:

Mount Vernon, New York

Place of Death:

North Brooklin, Maine


B.A., Cornell University, 1921

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.

Table of Contents

The Pond
A Visitor
The Cygnets
Off To Montana
School Days
The Trumpet
Money Trouble
Camp Kookooskoos
A Rescue
End of Summer
A Night at the Ritz
A Talk About Money
The Greening Spring

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Trumpet of the Swan 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 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.
ReaderVT More than 1 year ago
A wonderful, timeless classic. For my new grandson's collection.
mommymlp More than 1 year ago
I love . it is a good story and touches your heart.Louis is so smart!! Awsome book please read.
Ross_Teaford More than 1 year ago
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.
SarahJo4110 25 days ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am doing a diarama on any book i wanna and i chose the beautiful tale hope 2 get a 100
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EB White is one of my favorite authors,and i love her books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like this then read Charllots Web if you already havent read it its good to! (Hint hint)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This has been my favorite book since I was little and having just reread it, I remember now exactly why it was a favorite. A must read.
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-Erin- More than 1 year ago
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". ~Erin~
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NanSiefert More than 1 year ago
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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benandboys More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago