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The Trumpet of the Swan

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  50,566 Ratings  ·  1,480 Reviews
Although he lacks a voice in the traditional "Ko-hoh!" sense, trumpeter swan Louis learns to speak to the world with a trumpet stolen from a music store by his father. With the support of an unusual boy named Sam, who helps Louis learn how to read and write, the swan has some rather unswanlike adventures and ultimately wins the love--and the freedom--of a beautiful swan na ...more
Paperback, 210 pages
Published October 31st 1973 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1970)
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420th out of 1,509 books — 1,167 voters
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43rd out of 291 books — 13 voters

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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 22, 2012 Leslie rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Apr 13, 2013 Tamara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Ty Melgren
Aug 18, 2011 Ty Melgren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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:
Rebecca McNutt
I've loved this book ever since I was a little kid; Trumpet of the Swan, from the author who brought Charlotte's Web and Staurt Little to the world, is a classic about self-esteem, love and acceptance, with an almost fairy tale quality to it.
Apr 30, 2015 Kelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
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
Sep 22, 2008 C. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Melissa McShane
I read this for the 2016 YA/MG Book Battle.

This was cute, but ultimately too self-conscious to appeal to me. I did love it when Louis, the swan who’s been accumulating possessions that hang around his neck, starts listing them off and then says “I’m beginning to look like a hippie.” But there’s no real tension in this book, Louis’s path is unhindered by serious challenges, and he even gets the girl swan of his dreams through an unrealistic weather contrivance. It’s all a little too easy. What wo
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
Jul 14, 2008 Esther May rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 11, 2009 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jennifer Fertig
Oct 03, 2016 Jennifer Fertig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best first chapter of a book ever written.
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
Somehow I missed this one growing up! Sadly, I think this is one of those times where that made a difference. I wasn't as willing to go with the implausible parts of a story that seems set in the real world. I wasn't sure I wanted to root for Louis and Serena. I am not sure I buy their love story!

And I didn't like (view spoiler).
May 25, 2013 Jeana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Oct 12, 2016 Keiry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just read this with my son (6) for the third time. He loves the story of Louis the Swan, who was born with a speech defect. It has inspired him to start a journal. I think his favorite part of the story is the inclusion of music. I love how music changed Louis' life and I hope my son can see what good music can do in his. This book isn't as well known as E.B. White's Charlotte's Web, but it is just as good a book, if not better, in some ways.
I'm not sure how I missed reading The Trumpet of the Swan when I was growing up, but I'm very glad I had a reason to read it now. It's a story about Louis, a trumpeter swan born without the ability to trumpet, who finds his voice, aided by his family and friends. Louis' father steals a trumpet for his son, and his human friend, Sam, teaches him to read and write. With characters and a plot like this, you can imagine that there is quite a bit of implausibility, but I think that is one of the book ...more
Catherine ♡
Jun 15, 2016 Catherine ♡ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a beautiful story about love, friendship, justice, and bravery.

And I think what it was really successful in doing was showing the reader the point of view of these swans, these animals. We see what it'd be like to be them and to live in captivity, to have our wings clipped - and us (as in humans) became the enemy.

I think that's amazing.
Richard Ward
Aug 02, 2016 Richard Ward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone of any age.
From the beloved author of Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web, a third masterpiece of fantasy for children starring talking animals. Louis is not just a swan, but a Trumpeter Swan, so when he comes out of the egg unable to make a sound he is set up for a difficult and short life. But no! That's not the life he gets, but instead he overcomes his [insert appropriate politically correct term here]. Louis is courageous, resourceful, moral, and generous, a good animal hero for kid readers. Kids like t ...more
Oct 17, 2011 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Aug 05, 2009 Abbey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jo Lisa
Feb 23, 2016 Jo Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read at school to students..
Finished April 3rd..
May 16, 2016 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: and person, adult or child who thinks being a child is a good thing
Shelves: favorites
Some of you may know that I have stopped listening to NPR/VT public Radio and to occupy my time since we drive so much in VT I am listening to books-on-tape. I was at my public library the other day perusing the audio-book shelve and saw this...a new addition to the catalog. I, of course, like most people had read "Charlotte's Web" as a child, and along with Stuart Little had read both to my children, but never "The Trumpet of the Swan." Not sure why. I had re-read "Charlotte's Web" earlier this ...more
Katy Noyes
Oct 03, 2015 Katy Noyes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I only just heard about this for the first time, having grown up with White's Charlotte's Web and more lately Stuart Little. This is a little gem, really, a wonderful story about a swan that's unlike his peers, that has a rather unusual adventure.

Thicker than White's others, it's no harder a read though, the length needn't put young readers off. It may be one I read with my son (4) when he's a little older.

On a Canadian lake during a holiday, Sam Beaver discovers and watches a pair of Trumpeter
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
Jul 03, 2010 Shanna Gonzalez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-08-12
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
May 17, 2016 Ginger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
How had I never read this one before? I am on an E. B. White kick lately and this one was just delightful. It has similarities in theme with Charlotte's Web, but I loved the quiet, clean setting and have such a fondness for Louis the Swan and all his adventures now.

The illustrations by Edward Frascino were charming as well.
Kim Williams
Oct 09, 2007 Kim Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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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“Safety is all well and good: I prefer freedom.” 33 likes
“The world is full of talkers, but it is rare to find anyone who listens. And I assure you that you can pick up more information when you are listening than when you are talking.” 0 likes
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