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The Trumpet of the Swan
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The Trumpet of the Swan

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  42,611 ratings  ·  1,254 reviews
Swan Song

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
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 3rd 2000 by HarperCollins (first published 1970)
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Community Reviews

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If I read this book as a child, I probably didn't make it very far. My reasoning would likely have been "It's no Charlotte's Web", one of my all-time favorite children's stories. "Where's Wilbur? Is Charlotte going to appear?" (view spoiler)

A young boy named Sam Beaver discovers some swans, one of whom is named Louis. Poor Louis is, as everyone likes to remind him, defective because he can't make swan-noises. But he doesn't let that
I'm re-reading this with my kid. I loved this book when I read it as a child. An all time childhood favorite. I really enjoy it now, especially all the literary and biblical references I didn't get when I was Nicco's age. I love the over the top flowery sentiments of Louis' father. It did seem much more exciting and dangerous when I was young, and I COMPLETELY missed the disturbing hipocrisy of Louis, the weak and defected cygnet among his siblings, agreeing to sell his own future weak offspring ...more
Sep 22, 2008 C. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like swans, trumpets
Recommended to C. by: my mom gave it to me for my birthday
So the swan named Louis, he went around with a slate because he didn't have any voice. And he tried so hard and but he couldn't talk. He got a trumpet and a slate, a gold medal for saving someone's life, and guess what? He got a money bag because his father stole the trumpet. That's it. It's a five star book because I liked it a lot. My favorite part is when he broke in the door and then the owner of the store came after him and he got the trumpet and he went away. I know that is stealing but th ...more
Ty Melgren
I have no idea how I managed to not read this as a kid. It's way more fun than Stuart Little, not nearly as sad/good as Charlotte's Web, but almost as funny. Maybe funnier, actually. Just like in Charlotte's Web, E.B. ends the book with a calm, beautiful, somewhat embarrassing paragraph that I want to fall asleep under, and this time I printed it off and taped it to my wall so that I actually can. You can too:
I typically don't review children's books here unless they are very long or very good. This book is both. I'm not sure how I escaped reading this as a child but I'm certain that I didn't because the story is unique and memorable. Louis, a trumpeter swan born without a voice, employs determination and smarts to remedy this obstacle and win the heart of his love, all the while embarking on adventures and working to right wrongs along the way. My 8 year old daughter said "this book teaches children ...more
Nicola Mansfield
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
Esther May
The Trumpet of the Swan is an absolutely fabulous book. All children, and parents of children should read it. Louis, a swan, was born without a voice. After becoming aware of this his father said: "Do not let an unnatural sadness settle over you, Louis. Swans must be cheerful, not sad; graceful, not awkward; brave, not cowardly. Remember that the world is full of youngsters who have some sort of handicap that they must overcome. You apparently have a speech defect. I am sure you will overcome it ...more
May 25, 2013 Jeana rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Eric
Recommended to Jeana by: Bianca Quigley
Shelves: kids-books
Bianca says it's a tie between Trumpet of the Swan and Charlotte's Web for her favorite book. She "recommended" it to me after her third reading. And it was so worth it. This is a charming, remarkable little book about a mute swan who overcomes his difficulties and perseveres. I love how White takes real-life challenges and makes them fun and accessible with animals. I wish I had read this one as a child. I think it should be mandatory reading for all kids, along with Charlotte's Web of course. ...more
Absolutely adorable! Why did I never read this book as a kid? Seriously, it was so cute! What could be better than a Trumpeter swan who has a speech impediment and overcomes it by learning to read, write and, you guessed it, play the trumpet?? This is a coming-of-age story about a young swan--and it is just so much fun! The characters are fun, Louis is a treat, Louis' dad is hilarious, my kids LOVED listening to the story and couldn't wait until reading time!
This book used to mesmerize me as a child, and I would read it at least once a year for most of my childhood. I will definitely buy this book someday, in order to either read it to my own children, or have them read it on their own. So charming, and such a heartwarming story.
This was a very cute story that I was just dazed by. Nothing has ever touched my imagination like that and it felt so good to read something I had never expierienced before.
When I listen to audiobooks with my son, he usually doesn't have much to say about them except when I pause the book to talk about a point with him. When a book ends, I'll ask him for a star rating, or he'll immediately say, "Let's start a new book."

When we finished this one he yelled, "That was AWESOME!!!" It was pretty awesome to hear him expressing so much joy over a book. I can't remember him having such a strong reaction since The Wizard of Oz (which he immediately asked to start over once
Shanna Gonzalez
Louis, a trumpeter swan, was hatched without a voice and so is unable to win a mate, even though with the help of his human friend Sam, he has learned to read and write. Out of paternal love, Louis' father breaks into a music store and steals a trumpet for Louis to use in courtship of the beautiful Serena. But Louis is too honorable to simply accept the stolen instrument -- he learns to play it, then hires out his musical ability until he can pay back the store owner. Throughout his adventures a ...more
Jul 22, 2012 Leslie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hardcore bitches who like swans (which is all of them)
This is the funniest shit, I swear. The humor in this book is surreal. The cob has me in stitches with his over-the-top florid speeches, but it's the little details that kill me. Like how nobody goes crazy when a bird learns how to read and write "catastrophe." Or like when Louis spends the night at the Ritz, he goes to take a shower and he draws the curtain. HE DRAWS THE CURTAIN. I'm like, LOUIS, YOU ARE A SWAN. You've been naked since the day you were hatched, and all the millions of times you ...more
I read this book to my kids at bedtime over a few months and I found kind of disappointing although my kids seemed to really like it. It's imaginative and has a few good characters (my personal favorite was Louis' dad), but I have several complaints:
1) The "romance" with Serena REALLY irritated me - not only was there nothing redeeming about her other than her looks, it was ridiculous that she "blew off course" while in Montana and just happened to end up at the Philadelphia zoo.
2) I had moral i
I liked this book immensely as a child, but 3 stars because swans are assholes and children should learn this from a very early age. Swans are not our friends. They are jerks.
Kim Williams
Oct 09, 2007 Kim Williams rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kids of all ages
Shelves: childhoodfaves
2 of my favorite books as a child were by E.B. White and this was one of them. This is a beautiful story about having the courage to overcome a handicap. The young swan in the story is born mute. If memory serves, he tries a few different methods of communicating one of which was a chalkboard. This was also my first exposure to a vocal standard called, "Beautiful Dreamer". I highly recommend you introduce your little ones to this book for its promotion of the ideas of courage (you can overcome a ...more
Jules Alder
White is loved the world over for Charlotte's Web and revered and feared and misunderstood, frankly, for his contributions to Strunk & White. To know his writing well is to love a man you feel could have and should have been your uncle and, although Charlotte's Web is a wonderful book, it's not necessarily the one which should be required reading in U.S. elementary schools. While Charlotte embodies the quintessential advocate, a selfless being who puts another above herself, Louis the Swan e ...more
Celeste Batchelor
Part of me wants to really like this story, but I just think it's not good enough to go on my classics list. I never liked stories that personify animals very much. Plus, many of the characters are stupid (literally) and made to seem idiotic. I didn't like the ending with giving away their children to the zoo either. I just don't feel that is an image that should be portrayed to our children.
I first heard of this book when my 4th grade teacher read it to us and I was absolutely hooked on reading by this point. It's about a swan who has to find his voice, a book every child should read.
Meh. Strange. Not a fan of the stealing of the trumpet.
Talia Apkon
This book was sweet, fun, and exciting. Louie, though a mute trumpeter swan and a talented musician, is easy to relate to and as a reader I felt as though I was on his adventure along with him. I listened to this book on audio tape, which I particularly enjoyed because when Louie plays the trumpet, there is actually a trumpet in the recording. I could imagine using this book as a read-aloud (or using the audio recording) with elementary school students (2nd-5th) or recommending it to students in ...more
So I heard there is a new book about E.B. Whites writing of "Charlotte's Web". I'm not sure I've ever read Charlotte, but I'm so familiar with it based on the popular cartoon they use to play on TV in the 70's that I decided to read one of his others instead. I decided to pick up this one, and I have to say I have mixed feelings about it. E.B. White does a wonderful job of using his literary skills to enhance children's vocabulary, however some of the verbiage & plot points seems dated for s ...more
None of the books I checked out from the library today felt right for this evening, so I browsed my personal bookshelf and The Trumpet of the Swan jumped out at me right away. As a child, I loved this book, but I haven't read it since the Battle of the Books in fifth grade. Some of the images were so vivid to fifth grade me, that they remained the same despite the 20 years that have passed: the cob flying into the music store and Louis asking Sam to slit his webbed feet were two that particularl ...more
Matthew Hunter
I have mixed feelings about The Trumpet of the Swan. First the pluses. Our toddler enjoyed the read along very much. She thought my imitation of the swans' "ko-hoh!" was silly. Fred Marcellino's beautiful sepia drawings really helped tell the story. And the closing lines made me feel warm and fuzzy all over:
As Louis relaxed and prepared for sleep, all his thoughts were of how lucky he was to inhabit such a beautiful earth, how lucky he had been to solve his problems with music, and how pleasant
This was one of my favorite books as a child and it was a lot of fun to listen to the audio with my kids, especially as it was read by the author. It's funny what I remembered about this story and what I didn't (which was a lot). One of my favorite characters in this reread was Louis's dad the very verbose Cobb. I didn't appreciate Syrena as much though - I didn't like how she snubbed Louis at first. But it was wonderful to relive Louis and Sam's story again as an adult.
Nichole Sedler
Dec 04, 2007 Nichole Sedler added it
Recommends it for: 3rd-5th

Written by E.B. White, published by Harper Collins, 1970.

Summary: The story of a Trumpeter Swan with no voice of his own who is discovered by a young boy in the wilderness of Canada when he is just a baby. Throughout the story the boy, Sam, and the swan, Louis, continually encounter each other. The story follow the life of Louis as he finds his voice through the use of a small chalkboard around his neck and a trumpet.

Response: I thought this story started out very good with lots of information
I have read Charlottes Web, and Stuart Little, but this book is my favorite then Stuart, then Charlottes Web. I think very highly of this book and you should to!!!

Love your friend,

Jacob Razer
I loved this book.Louis could not talk and his parents were worried he would not have a mate.Sam took Louis to school to learn to read and write.He saw a mate named Serena but she did not like louis because he could not talk.He needed a trumpet.The cob stole and broke into the store to get the trumpet.Then Louis needed money to pay for it.
I read this wonderful story to my children as a school assignment - and loved every moment of it. Louis, the trumpeter swan who couldn't find his voice. Louis's father said: "Do not let an unnatural sadness settle over you, Louis. Swans must be cheerful, not sad; graceful, not awkward; brave, not cowardly. Remember that the world is full of youngsters who have some sort of handicap that they must overcome. You apparently have a speech defect. I am sure you will overcome it, in time. There may ev ...more
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Elwyn Brooks White was a leading American essayist, author, humorist, poet and literary stylist and author of such beloved children's classics as Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan. He graduated from Cornell University in 1921 and, five or six years later, joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine. He authored over seventeen books of prose and poetry and was elected to t ...more
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Charlotte's Web Stuart Little Here Is New York Three Beloved Classics by E. B. White: Charlotte's Web/the Trumpet of the Swan/Stuart Little Charlotte's Web/Stuart Little Slipcase Gift Set

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