[The Trumpet of the Swan]: A Review

Hi y’all!

Hope my American friends had a great 4th of July weekend! July is the epitome of summer, right? Hope you are staying cool and enjoying the sunshine.

Today I am here with a review of The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White. I read this book aloud to my kids earlier this year. It was my first time reading it. While there are moments of really fun story, there are also slow moving parts as well.

Initial Thoughts:

  • We are in a world again where animals and children can communicate. A highlight of this story is Sam’s relationship with Louis. But it didn’t have the timeless quality that I see in Fern and Wilbur.
  • There is an old animated adaptation of this book that is actually pretty cute. Fun to see it on screen!

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According to Goodreads, “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 affectionโ€”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?

I never got really invested in the story like I do with Charlotte’s Web. I wanted to, but Louis’ story had slow parts or parts that just didn’t grip me. The story was not always action driven which could add to the slow movement. There were a lot of small stories that didn’t always feel cohesive. I liked when Louis learns to read, plays the camp bugle and swims with the Boston swan boat. But the Philadelphia Zoo part felt more disconnected. I felt like something bad or tricky was going to happen the whole time Louis was there. Sometimes it was a bit boring and not the easiest for read aloud.

The characters are a paradox for me; I either liked them or really didn’t. I liked Louis. His journey to find happiness and find a voice was really clever. Loved when he learned to read and learned to play. I loved Sam Beaver and his part in Louis’ story. I enjoying watching him grow up and enjoyed his journal entries. I found the old cob a bit over the top and annoying. Louis’ mother was a bit aloof. And Serena seemed two completely different swans in the book.

I felt so relieved when we finally finished this one! There are things that make it a good read aloud like the great pictures throughout the book and the shorter chapters. But the story is sometimes boring or harder for younger children to get excited about (or for me to get into!). Glad to have read this one because I love E. B. White but not a new favorite.

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What is your favorite E. B. White novel? Why do you like it?
Any favorite read alouds I need to add to our list?

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