Walking back to camp through the swamp, Sam wondered whether to tell his father what he had seen.
–E. B. White - The trumpet of the swan - c.1970 - pg.1
Sam Beaver is eleven years old when out exploring a Canadian swamp he comes across a bird’s nest, a Trumpeter Swan’s nest to be specific, and in it are 5 eggs. Sam is delighted; he loves nature and keeps a careful watch being careful not to upset the swans. He even saves the nest from a fox attack. And when the eggs hatch he is even more entranced by the cygnets. But one of them has a problem, Louis has been born without a voice, and so Sam decides to help him out. He takes him to school and helps him learn to read and write, now he can communicate through a slate & chalk. Then his father gets him a trumpet and Louis learns to play it, so he can win the love of Serena.
Many, many years ago a teacher read this book to her class. I don’t remember what class I was in when I listened to it, but I’m pretty sure I was still living in Dublin, so I’ll guess first or second class. That is a long, long time ago; around 25 years maybe, a long time to remember a book. I guess you could say it made a good impression on me.
And I’m delighted that reading all these years later I can still say that I love it. It is just delightful. The descriptions of the vain but goodhearted cob. His sensible, practical wife, and their attempts t make Louis feel good despite his “defect”. I have to admit I did wince a little at seeing him described as defective for not having a voice, but it is said with love, and it was a different time I suppose.
In many ways it reminded me of when I read The little white horse in that it is dated, and in many ways totally unlike modern books, but there is just such a charm to it. And there is also some lovely humour.
Also the internal illustrations from Edward Frascino are just lovely.
Other reviews: None found; if you’ve reviewed leave a comment letting me know & I’ll add a link.