The Trumpet of the Swan

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780064408677
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/03/2000
Edition description: Collectors
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 15,542
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 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 81 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ElizaJane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Acquired: Purchased a used copy at a book/garage sale or thrift shop.Reason for Reading: I've picked a bookshelf to randomly read my own books from this year and this is my first read from that shelf. This is a perennial favourite of mine.I've read this several times now. Originally as a child, then as an adult, again as a read aloud to my eldest son, and now once more and the book still has not lost its charm for me. This is going to make a nice bedtime read for dh and ds and I'll be putting it in their pile. Trumpet is my favourite of White's three children's novels. Louis is an unassuming hero, with a sense of right and wrong, dignity and someone who works hard to get what he wants out of life. Born without a voice, he gets by until he is old enough for mating season. Then, of course, he can't attract the female he is in love with so his father heads to the city and steals a trumpet for him. Louis is so thankful, he learns to play, but first he must earn money to pay back his father's debt both for the trumpet and the damage he did to the store and thus follows the story of Louis' adventures as he earns a living at various venues first playing as a bugler and then after a slight operation to one foot learning the full use of the trumpet. He becomes famous in the towns and cities he plays in but his heart is always set on earning the money, so he can get back to his family and his lady love. He also repeatedly is assisted and visited by Sam Beaver, a boy he met when he was just a newly hatched gosling.It is a simple story, possibly considered slow to some compared to more modern fare but it tells a good tale. It's a story of good people, animals mostly with good human qualities and both Sam and Louis are good role models, they type of person we all want to be like someday. Though written in the seventies, there isn't really much to place the story in time. There are a few instances when this is brought to the reader's attention; I remember the word "hippie" but otherwise the book is quaint and could be taking place in any time period of the more mannered, politer past. A lovely story, sure to be enjoyed by animal lovers.One of my goals in reading books from this random shelf is to move books out of the house that are not going to be part of my permanent collection, but this one is a keeper. I had wanted to get the hardcover, collector's edition to match Charlotte's Web & Stuart Little that I have, which have both been respectfully colourized. But when I saw the hardcover version of this I also saw that the illustrations had been completely redone by a new illustrator so I took a pass on getting that version. In fact, the paperback versions include the new illustrations as well. The original illustrations by Edward Frascino don't seem to be available in any currently available new editions. So I'm keeping this edition, which is the exact same one that I had as a kid.
raymondh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book if you like kind of sad book.In some places it leaves you in suspens.
Stbalbach on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I listened to the audio version (from Audible), read by E.B. White himself. I'm certain the audio version is better than reading the book, it's oral story telling at its best. White's soothing trombone voice, the trumpet sound effects, song renditions, characterizations, and his emphasis on the storyline converge into a wonderful heartwarming work of art.
dbhutch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the classic story of the trumpet of the swan... Louis was born with no voice and for him to have a voice his father "the old cob" fly to a near by town and stole a trumpet so his son could speak. Louis went to school to learn to read and write and used a slate and chalk pencil. Louis work jobs one summer to make the money back to pay the store owner back and his father took a slate that said what the money was for to the store owner and paid it back ........ was a very good story.
jjallen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It was really good and definitely a classic.
avry15 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Think of your most vital sense (sight, hearing, talking, taste and touch), imagine it gone, what would you do? The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White is a book that you¿d definitely read. This is a story with lots of good moral values, inspiring and the noblest of adventure and desire that would surely uplift one¿s spirit.The Trumpet of the Swan is a story about Louis, a Trumpeter Swan and his adventure to find his own voice and pursue his dreams. He was born without a voice, unable to make the honking cry that marks his species. He ventured on to overcome his defect by learning to play a trumpet, and try to impress a beautiful swan named Serena.In Canada, on the first day of spring, the cob (adult male swan) and the pen (adult female swan), members of sub-species Trumpeter Swan built their nest on a small island in a pond. Sam Beaver, an 11-year-old boy on a camping trip, observed and saved the female from being attacked by a fox. When the eggs hatched, all of the cygnets (baby swans), chirped at Sam in greeting, except for the youngest, who can make no sound and pulled his shoelace instead, the youngest who was named, Louis.At the end of summer, the swan family migrated to Red Rock Lakes in Montana. Louis decided he should learn to read and write in order to communicate, so Sam took Louis to school and bought him a slate and chalk to write. This was a help, but when he greet his family using it, they didn¿t understand because they didn¿t know how to read. Most of all, it did not aid Louis in winning the heart of the beautiful swan he had fallen in love. He had written the words ¿I love you¿ in the slate, and Serena just stared at it and swam away. He was the best swimmer and the handsomest among the swans, but without a voice to profess his love, Serena didn¿t notice him at all.In a dramatic scene of broken glass and a fainting salesgirl, Louis's father did a difficult thing - he put honor aside and stole a trumpet so his son would be able to woo his love. Louis feels guilty about his father's theft, but accepts the instrument. Serena has migrated north, so Louis returns to Sam's ranch. Sam suggests that Louis get a job so he can pay the store for the trumpet and the damaged window. Louis's determination to become a trumpeter to get the attention of his one true love and pay off his father's debt takes him far from the wilderness he loves. And a series of adventure and music wound its way into Louis¿ life.Although I can¿t tell you how the story ends, I¿ll give you the descriptions of the characters. Louis¿ father was the running gag in the story, with his tremendous and flowery speeches; he captured the reader¿s attention. The speeches were poetic and often carried a sense of humor and behind the words, lay a deep meaning of life¿s reality. He was full of himself, and forever will be proud of his family, especially Louis. He loves to hear praises from his wife and children, and is a loving father. And of course his wife, who is the sensible of the two, that keeps reminding his husband of the mistakes of his words. She was a depiction of a good-natured mother, always protecting for her children and caring for her husband. Meanwhile, Serena was the beautiful, sophisticated swan Louis had fallen in love.Sam, the only human to whom the story revolves, is always at bay, always helping Louis in his obstacles. He had desires and fondness towards animals and carried with him a diary that he likes to write at night. As the story progresses, we were also aware of Sam¿s growth from an eleven-year-old boy into a full-grown man.My favorite character is Louis. He had always been the gentleman with wild dreams and the courage to prove himself worthy of respect from the other trumpeter swans, inspite of his disability. He had continued to be kind and hopeful and still believe in his dreams, that there¿s nothing so big, a swan cannot do. He is smart, loving, family-centered and cared for dignity and guilt and he is thankful for whatever t
worrellw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I know it's a classic but I didn't love it.
caltstatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a tale of a young Trumpeter swan who does not have a voice. He makes friends with a young boy named, Sam, who helps him go to school so he can read and write. Louis, the swan, is satisfied with this for a short while until he cannot court a lovely female because he has no voice. Louis's father flies to a music store and steals a trumpet. Louis learns to play the trumpet and has many adventures playing it and earning money to pay for it. He finally does and his father is able to take the money back to the music store. Louis wins the heart of the lovely swan and they live happily ever after.Younger students would like this tale of abnormal behavior from the swans. They could also learn the correct terminology of the different kinds of swans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its was such a good book from begging to end. The only reason why I didn't give this five stars is because when the swan left his family. It was so sad I had to force myself to give this book four stars. Overall, this is a good book to read.
allisonmclean on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I remember my second grade teacher reading me this book. I loved it then and haven't read it since, so I was excited to revisit it. There are things about it that I still love, but there was also some of it that irked me a little. Some of that could just be that it is a book from it's time (1970), but there are some aspects that don't hold well over time, especially the author's characterization of the female characters in the book. And also the way it talked about Louis "donating" his own children to the zoo. That seemed a little heartless. I know I'm being overly critical of such a sweet, heartwarming, story, but those were some of the things that stood out to me.
Hamburgerclan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Trumpet of the Swan is the story of Louis, a trumpeter swan who is missing his trumpet--he was born without the ability to speak. Or honk, or whatever you call a swan's vocalizations. It starts out as a very pleasant tale of animals in the wild and a boy who watches them with reverence and awe. A bit of humor is interjected as the father swan is given a human personality, full of pride and a tendancy towards verbosity. Then, a few chapters in, Louis decides to go to school, figuring that literacy would be the cure for his handicap. You're reminded that this is a book from the same author of Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web, where sentient animals and humans interact as a matter of course and many people are apt to spout a view of life that's a bit amusing. Louis' story is no different as he seeks to overcome his handicap and establish a good life for himself. It's an amusing tale, one worth checking out.--J.
cmbohn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like this one better than Stuart Little, really, but not as much as Charlotte's Web.
wordygirl39 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite of E.B. White's three children's books, probably because I grew up in love with the natural world and a child of the mountain states. This book holds its worth even for adult readers.
libraryofus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Perhaps the least well-known of White's popular trio of books (not least, I suspect, because as far as I know it's never been adapted into movie form, though (cynicism to the contrary) that may be effect instead of cause), Trumpet of the Swan is still a very enjoyable book. In its story, a young swan learns to cope with a handicap - he has no voice - and discovers he can, in fact, learn to please his father, succeed in the world as a whole, and even win the heart of his beloved. Very uplifting, really, if more than a little dated.
SarahJo4110 More than 1 year 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago