The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White

Trumpet_of_the_Swan_Cover.jpegSo something like a month ago (because I am so good at posting in a relevant time frame) we were packing up the car for the 12 hour ride home from Utah to Arizona when I realized that I had finished all three of the books that I had brought with me. I should have been desperately bored for most of the trip if I had not seen The Trumpet of the Swan lying neglected on a seat. I needed a book, it needed to be read; we were a perfect match.

It was a pretty quick read, as children’s books usually are for me; only took me a couple of hours. The writing style reminded me of Charlotte’s Web and and Stuart Little (wait, those are by the same author?? No way!)

The story is about a trumpeter swan named Louis. Trumpeter swans are renowned for their call, which (you guessed it) sounds like a trumpet. Louis, however, is born dumb. This isn’t much of a problem for him until he falls in love with a swan named Serena and he can’t tell her he loves her because he has no voice.

To help him overcome his speech defect, Louis’s father flies to Billings, Montana and steals a trumpet from the music store. Louis learns to play this trumpet and it becomes his voice, but now he has another problem: he has to pay the music store back for the trumpet. Now Louis also has to find a job to earn enough money to pay the store back.

Throughout the story, he gets help from a bird-loving, forest-roaming boy named Sam Beaver, who makes it possible for him to learn to read and finds him his first job. This enables Louis to be able to communicate with people and work for the money to pay for the trumpet.

In the end, Louis’s greatest weakness becomes the means of him getting everything he’s ever wanted. I love how the story shows that what we sometimes call weaknesses are actually great opportunities, if we have the courage and drive to use them that way.

And if you think that you’re too old for a children’s book, I redirect you to C. S. Lewis: “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” This was a very good children’s story.

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